Friday, August 16, 2013

A divine dip in Keerimalai

   Dushiyanthini Kanagsabapathipillai reporting from Keerimalai 

Hindu devotees flocked into the sea for a divine dip

 Divine devotee

Rites ashore

The “Keerimalai” natural springs are known for its water and rituals. “Keerimalai” is a land of sacred springs and spirituality. Its water with mineral contents is said to have curative value.

Hindus believe the water here has miraculous powers to cure many diseases. According to many legends, the sage “Nagula Muni” was born with mongoose face, so he meditated in a cave in “Keerimalai”. When bathed in “Keerimalai” springs his mongoose face is supposed to have turned into a human face. "Keerimalai" was also known as Thiruthambaleswaram.
Keerimalai” is 50 feet above the main sea level, and situated West of Palaly in  the Jaffna District. “Keerimalai”’s fresh water comes from an underground fresh water spring. Hindus flock in large numbers on “Aadi Amaavaasai” day which falls during the Tamil month of “Aadi”, to carry out rituals for their forefathers, and take a divine dip in the natural springs. These rituals are usually carried out by men.  Famous for “Aadi Amaavaasai”, “Keerimalai” continues to be the foremost place for it.

Place of rituals

Access to “Keerimalai” was denied to civilians during the war, and was declared a High Security Zone. Hindus couldn’t carry out the special rituals, or take a deep dip in the sea to observe the special fast  of “Aadi Amaavaasai” for nearly 30 years. Since the war has ended in 2009, devotees have been allowed into “Keerimalai”. 

Spiritual bath in the sea

Progressively, they were allowed in during the restricted times to take a divine bath in the “Keerimalai” sacred springs, but were not allowed to enter the sea. But, this year to observe “Aadi Amaavaasai” fast, a large number of Hindu devotees flocked into “Keerimalai”, and carried out the special rituals for their fathers, and forefathers. The special rituals on “Aadi Amaavaasai” fast are conducted by particular priests, who also carry out Hindu funeral rites.

 Getting ready to perform the rites

Particular rites are performed
Fasting for fathers and forefathers

The “Keerrimalai” natural springs has two separate ponds for men and women to take a spiritual bath in. Hindus observe “Aadi Amaavaasai” fast with frying a special sour vegetable known as “Kaaththottik Kaai”, and eat with lunch on this day to remember their fathers and forefathers.

 Freshly plucked "Kaaththottikk Kaai"
 Men at Maruthnaarmadam vegetable market early in the morning

On the run for the rites

 Scars of war

Click from "No Entry Zone"

Helping hand to the Chief Priest of the Naguleswarm temple Kumaraswamy Naguleswara Kurukkal

 Worship on the boundary line

Maavai Kanthan on his way to Keerimalai for water cutting ceremony

Devotion with barriers

Decorated deities during the celebrations in Keerimalai
Flames of devotion
Water cutting ceremony in the sea

Traditionally dressing up to perform the rituals
 Men taking a holy bath n the natural and sacred springs

Police officer with the footwear in the hall where Hindu religious rituals taking place
For traditional rites
Language matters ~ Notice in all three languages (Tamil, Sinhala and English)

Women devotees taking a divine dip
Rush hour of rites

Tray of offerings
Quenching thirst (hot coffee)

On Ceylon Today

COURTESY: Ceylon Today


Blogger Santhirasegaran Subramaniam said...

well covered report about Keerimalai
good job by Dushi

8:05 PM  

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