Koneswaram temple Chariot festival held

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 April 2005, 23:15 GMT]
Chariot (THER) festival of the historic Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple was held Sunday morning with Lord Konesar and his consort Maathumai Ambal being taken in a chariot while deities Pillaiyar and Murugan with his two consorts Valli and Theivayanai taken ahead in two other chariots. Large number of devotees from several parts of the country participated in the festival, sources attending the event said.


Konesar Chariot Festival
Dutch Bay, Trincomalee town and Trincomalee harbour seen in background

Konesar Chariot Festival
Lord Konesar and Maathumai Ambal being taken to the chariot
Hindus and some members of other faiths believe that the last year tsunami deadly tidal waves had not caused serious destruction to Trincomalee town and its suburbs compared to other areas in the country because of the rock where the Koneswaram temple is located, sources said.

'Ther' festival was held in the ancient Koneswaram temple, which was built about more than three thousand five hundred years ago with five chariots before the Portuguese destroyed it in 1624, according to "Thirukonasala Puranam" written during the nineteenth century by a Tamil scholar Masilamanipillai Muttucumaru.

The new Koneswaram temple was built and consecrated in April 1963 after 339 years. However THER festival was not reintroduced in its annual festival agenda by the new management of the temple till the year 2003.

After about 379 years the (THER) chariot festival was reintroduced first on 3rd April 2003. Since then the chariot festival is being held annually, sources said.

Konesar Chariot Festival
According to Mr.Issac Thambiah, a historian that Portuguese destroyed the Koneswaram temple on the Hindu New Year Day in the year 1624. Portuguese soldiers and mercenaries entered the temple dressed as Hindu priests when New Year day religious rites were held and looted the temple and killed several priests. Some priests escaped, carrying with them images and other valuable articles they could save.

According to Dr.Paul E.Peiris, a Sinhala historian, Thirukoneswaram was one of the five Eswarams (Temples of Siva) in the island before the arrival of Vijaya. The original Koneswaram temple was constructed in the year B.C.1589 as recorded in a Tamil poem by Kavi Raja Varothian, historical records say.
Konesar Chariot Festival
THER seen with devotees
Konesar Chariot Festival
Trincomalee town is seen from Konesar temple

 

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