Sunday, March 31, 2013

In reverence of Goddess Amman

             Text and pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai 

Enchanting entrance gateway to the "Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal" temple enclosure

Temple worship is an integral part of Hinduism. Illustrative of this “Kopuram” or the tower over the main entrance of the temple is splendidly covered with sculpted images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and celestial beings. The tower is meant to be visible from afar, so that devotees can even say their prayers from a distance. A popular Tamil saying goes “Kopura Tharisanam Kodi Punniyam" worshiping the tower of the temple is goodness in a million fold.

The “Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal” temple is situated in Nanthaavil, in Kokkuvil East in Jaffna District. Built in 1743, it’s one of the many famous “Amman” temples in the Jaffna Peninsula.. The temple was damaged like many other Hindu temples in the district during the war. A young Hindu priest was killed by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) during their presence in the Peninsula in 1988, immediately after he completed performing the “pooja” at dawn. Later, the temple was purified and rebuilt, and now all the “poojas” are regularly performed. The annual temple festival takes place during the Tamil month of June.

Panguni Thingal” is an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar. It literally means “Mondays in March”, and celebrated on Mondays, which fall during the middle of March through the middle of April, and ending just before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Devotees come as far as from Valvettiththurai ,Pointpedro and Chaavakachcheri to pay homage to Goddess temple, to worship, fulfill their vows and seek her blessings.

Among a handful of Goddess temples in Jaffna, “Panguni Thingal” is still celebrated with devotion. On “Panguni Thingal” days women throng the “Amman” temples, pray, prepare sweet rice along with “mothagam” or sweet dumplings, and “vadai” popular spicy doughnut. These specialties are offered to the Goddess, and then shared with families, friends and neighbours.

Sweet rice being prepared
 Monumental tower of Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal
These Tamil women have lost everything due to war and displacement
Popular saying in Tamil by Sangam period poetess Avvaiyaar ~ "Koyil Illa Ooril Kudiyirukka Vendaam" meaning "don;t live in a place where there is no temple"
Fine touch to prepare "mothagam", sweet dumpling
"We lost and suffered during the war. We pray to the Goddess to get our houses and lands back from the military without further delay" ~ displaced women from Palaly and Mylitty in Jaffna District
"Vadai", spicy doughnut being fried
Devotees preparing the specialties for the festival
Vibrant view from a distance
Prepare with Prayers
Ardent devotees from High Security Zone in Jaffna, and have been displaced for more than 20 years,live in Kokkuvil
Steamed "mothagam" or sweet dumplings
Series of sculptures at Sanctum 

 Taking the specialties home to share

Colourful and captivating view
Sunday pictorial on Ceylon Today



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