Historic Trincomalee Koneswaram temple annual festival begins

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 March 2005, 18:16 GMT]
The twenty two-day annual festival of the historic Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple located on the Swami Rock inside the Fort Frederick, which began Friday with flag hoisting ritual entered the fifth day Tuesday.

Devotees of Sambaltivu village, which is located 7 km off north Trincomalee, hosted (Upayam) the fifth day festival. According to Cholan King Kulakottan' stone scriptures written several centuries ago, Hindus in Tamil villages in the Trincomalee district surrounding the temple are entitled to hold poojah as their ‘Upayam’ during the annual festival period, temple sources said.



Koneswaram temple annual festival, 2005.
Historic Trincomalee Koneswaram temple is seen with Nandi flga hoisted (left).





Koneswaram temple annual festival, 2005.
Special dais has been constructed to hold Poongavana Festival on 12 April, near the historic ‘Ravanan Vettu’.



Trincomalee Urban Council is hosting the Chariot (‘THER’) festival on 10 April and water-cutting (‘THEERTHAM’) festival on 11 April 11.

‘Theertham’ festival will be held in the century old holy well-called ‘Papanasachunai’ which is located inside the Fort Frederick in the midst of Sri Lanka Army garrison. The Sri Lanka Army as usual will allow the temple authorities to hold the water-cutting festival on the particular day in the ‘Papanasachunai’ holy well which is closed for the rest of the year and kept under the SLA custody, the sources said.

The Gajaba Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army is currently stationed inside the Fort Frederick where the Trincomalee District Secretariat (‘Kachcheri’) is also located.

Workers of the Sri Lanka Port Authority in Trincomalee will be holding the ‘Theppath Thiruvilazh’ (Boat Festival) as usual this year also on 13 April in the Dutch Bay Sea.



Koneswaram temple annual festival, 2005.
After Portuguese destroyed 3000 year old historic temple, Hindu worshipped a ‘Lingam’ kept on the Swami Rock for nearly four centuries. Even after the new temple is built still poojah is being held at the old place. Two female devotees are seen worshipping the old Swami Rock ‘Lingam’.



Lord Konesar, chief deity of the temple with his consort Mathumai Ambal will be taken in boat around the temple from the Swami Rock via Back Bay Sea to the Dutch Bay Sea. Religious discourses and cultural items will take place throughout the night of 13 April in the Dutch Bay sea beach. Thereafter the deity will be taken to the temple next day early morning by road through the Fort Frederick entrance, the sources said.

Pathirakali Ambal Temple and some other Hindu Temples are holding their water-cutting festivals in the Back Bay Sea for several centuries.

According to historians, the Koneswaram temple was built during 1300 BC and was destroyed by Portuguese in 1624 AD on Tamil New Year day.



Koneswaram temple annual festival, 2005.
Koneswaram temple Moolasthanam where ‘Lingam’ is kept and worshipped.
Koneswaram temple annual festival, 2005.
The statues of Lord Konesar and his consort Mathumai Ambal (seen in middle) recovered in 1950 when UC workers dug a public well in a place now called Veeranagar in the heart of Trincomalee town at a time when some Hindu leaders formed a committee and decided to reconstruct the Portuguese destroyed Koneswaram temple on the Swami Rock. These statues are now kept in the Vasantha Mandapam and being taken around the temple during daily festival.

 

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