Peace pulls thousands to Kokkaddicholai festival
[TamilNet, Monday, 23 September 2002, 14:33 GMT]
The Chariot Festival of the Kokkaddicholai
Thaanthonreeswarar Siva Temple in Batticaloa’s LTTE
controlled western hinterland was celebrated Sunday.
The prevailing peace between the Liberation Tigers and
Colombo drew more than 25,000 devotees to the
festival. According to local traditions, the temple’s
original structure was built by provincial governors
of the Chola Empire in the eleventh century. The
island was a province of the powerful medieval Tamil
empire for three centuries.
Kokkaddicholai is 15 kilometres southwest of
Batticaloa town, across the lagoon.
There are only three entry points to the
Kokkaddicholai area. All were clogged Sunday as
thousands thronged for the final Chariot festival.
The main chariot in which the image of the temple’s
deity is pulled by devotees was constructed with
wooden sculptures in the 18th century.