Important Religious Places in Sri Lanka for Hindus 0 393

Important Religious Places in Sri Lanka for Hindus 0 394

Koneswaram Temple

There is substantial evidence that the Nagas and Yakkas have been in Sri Lanka since the pre-Vijaya era. History dating back to 3 BCE also states that the Nagas worshipped Lord Shiva and serpents. This was during the same time when Tamil language began gaining prevalence.

Sri Lanka’s current Hindu population is approximately 12.6% (according to 2011 census) with the majority following the teachings of Shaiva Siddhanta. The country has an uncountable number of Hindu temples and kovils. In this post we talk about a few important Hindu religious places in Sri Lanka.

Pancha Ishwarams

Sri Lanka is also home to Pancha Ishwarams or the five abodes of Shiva. These are five dedicated kovils in Sri Lanka located in the coastal areas of Sri Lanka dedicated to the to Hindu supreme Iswara in the form of Lord Shiva. They are:

Naguleswaram (North)

Located in Keerimalai town near Kankesanthurai (or Elephant Pass), this Kovil belongs to the Jaffna district. The temple has undergone major renovations and reopened in 2012. Naguleswaram attracts continental devotees and has a 15-day festival that takes place from February to March.

Ketheeswaram (North-West)

Some call the Ketheeswaram temple the Tirukketisvaram ancient Hindu temple. It sits overlooking the Manthai and Kudiramalai ancient port towns. This temple belongs to the Mannar district approximately 320 km from Colombo.

Koneswaram (North-East)  

The Koneswaram Temple or Tirukoneswaran is the most visited Hindu temple located in Trincomalee. History states it was most likely built during the time of the early Cholas and the Five Dravidans of the early Pandyan kingdom. Trincomalee is an important tourist city in the country. Koneswaram is among its main attractions. The Koneswaram temple is situated a few meters away from “Lovers Leap” or Ravana cleft at Swami Rock temple.

Munneswaram (West)

The Munneswaram in the Ramayana is where Rama sought atonement from Lord Shiva after his victory over Ravana. The temple is located in Chilaw and the temple complex is a collection of five temples including a Buddhist temple. The temple celebrates a four-week long festival attended by Hindus and Buddhist.

Tondeswaram (South)

Tondeswaram is located at the Southern-most tip of Sri Lanka, at the Dondra Head, Matara. Did you know that Tondeswaram is among the most celebrated Hindu temples in the island? The kovil consists of eight major kovil shrines and a thousand deity statues made of stone and bronze with two major shrines dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. The kovil complex finds itself mentioned in the royal engravings of Kotte, Anuradhapura, Raigama and Dambadeniya kingdoms.

Other Notable Hindu religious places in Sri Lanka

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil  or commonly known as Nallur Kovil was originally built in 948. The Nallur Temple we know and have grown to love in Jaffna is the fourth of its kind constructed in 1734. The temple is visited by many all year round, but to make the most of your visit travel during the festival period that takes place for 25 days in August.

Nainativu Nagapooshani Temple is an ancient historic Hindu temple located in Nainativu (Nagadeepa) Island, Jaffna. The temple is among the notable 64 Shakthi Peethams and is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana, a Sanskrit text and one of the eighteen major Puranas.

Seetha Amman Temple is located 05 km away from Nuwara Eliya and history recalls it as the the same place that King Ravana held Sita captive.

If you are keen on exploring more kovils and temples here are a few more names from us: Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil, Okanda Murugan Devalaya, Shri Bhakta Hanuman Temple and Maruthanar Madam Anjanajar Temple.

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Nastashia Ekanayake is a travel enthusiastic who enjoys travelling solo when budget and time permit. Having currently moved back to Sri Lanka, she functions as an administration professional by day and wanderer and foodie by night. She enjoys journaling her adventures, exploring the joys of Instagram and looking up her next travel destination.

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