Temple festival in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The 'mahakumbaabishkam' (consecration) of the Sri Thaanthondriswar temple in Kokkadicholai, 25 km west of Batticaloa, will take place tomorrow, said sources in Batticaloa.

Kokkadicholai is an area under Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) control.

The temple, very ancient, and according to tradition, associated with miracles, was partially destroyed by the cyclone that hit the Batticaloa region in 1978. The restoration work concluded only this year.

The temple is reputed to be well endowed and the trustees have spared no expenditure both in reconstruction as well as with the ceremonies associated with consecration, said sources.

Unprecedented crowds from the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) controlled areas have been visiting the temple during the past two days.

Despite it being in the LTTE controlled territory, the SLA has co-operated with the public by not enforcing stringent security measures at checkpoints in the area, said sources. Buses take the devotees up to the Batticaloa lagoon after which they are ferried across the waters. The devotees are then provided transport by the LTTE in the areas under their control. All devotees are served food at the temple.

The endowments of the temple include over 200 acres of paddy land. The kopuram (pinnacle) of this temple alone, cost almost 10 million rupees, said sources. Sri Thaanthontreeswar Temple is the only temple in the east which has a chariot festival.

Since the cyclone the festival has not been held. The superstitious and the pious attributed the travails of the east to the suspension of the chariot festival.

 

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