SLA removes curfew for Nalloor Ther festival
[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 September 2007, 18:44 GMT]
Several thousands devotees converged Sunday at the premises of the historic Nalloor Kandaswamy Temple in Jaffna to attend the Ther festival to be held Monday, following the announcement by the Sri Lanka Military head quarters in Palaaly that the curfew will be lifted Sunday and Monday nights, Temple officials said.
Devotees in thousands attended the Sapparam festival held Sunday.
Sapparam ceremony, will be followed by Car (Ther) ceremony, Theertham (Water cutting) and Poonkavanam during the last four days.
The Sacred Flag Monday morning will be taken in a decorated chariot from Nallur Saddanathar Sivan Kovil to Nalloor Kandasamy Temple and handed over to the Kandasamy Temple chief priest, according to traditional rites which has been in force since the rule of King Sangiliyan.
Hundreds of men are expected to follow behind the CAR to complete their vows rolling on the ground bare-bodied, performing "Angapirathshnam," a form of penance to propitiate the deity Nalloor Murugan.
The annual festivals during the five years after the MoU were held in a grand scale turning Jaffna into a spiritual town with thousands attending. The festival in 2006 and 2007 were subdued due to the unsettled security situation and the heavily policed curfew prevailing in the peninsula.
The Temple situated on the outskirts of Jaffna traces its origin back to A.D 948 and has emerged as one of the most revered Hindu shrines. The sound financial backing for the temple by its devotees across the world and the resourcefulness of the temple administration have transformed the temple into an architectural masterpiece. In a changing world, the temple keeps pace with modern times without sacrificing its age-old rituals.
Historians say that the history of the Nalloor temple is closely intertwined with the history of Jaffna. Prof.Gunrarasa of Jaffna University in his book on the Temple says that the Temple was originally constructed in a place called Kurukal Valavu in A.D 948. The temple was destroyed in AD 1450 during the invasion of the Sinhalese King Shenpakaperumal (Sapumal Kumaraya).
The same king resurrected the temple and the environments in Muthiraichanthai in 1467. The temple was again destroyed at its foundation by Portugese commander Philip De Olivereira in 1621. The Dutch rebuilt a Christian Church at the same premises. In around 1734 Krishnaiyar Suppier established a smaller shrine in Muthiraichanthi in rememberance of the destroyed Kandaswami temple.
During the same period Muslims had constructed a mosque and a statue for the multi-religious sage Sikander at Kurukkal madam. Krishnaiyar Suppier and Maapaaner with the assistance of the Government removed the statue and the mosque and rebuilt the present temple in 1749.