Thiruketheeswaram temple consecrated after 27 years

[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 July 2003, 12:10 GMT]
After twenty-seven years the consecration (Maha Kumbabishekam) ceremony of the historic Thiruketheeswaram Temple in Mannar district was held Sunday morning amid hundreds of thousands of devotees from all over the country especially from the northeast chanting prayers," temple authorities said.

When the main Gopuram was consecrated at the auspicious time thousands of devotees clasping their hands over their heads simultaneously cried in emotion "Arohara Arohara", "Namasivaya", sources said

Hindu Religious Affairs Minister Mr. T.Maheswaran, Head of the Nallai Thirugnanasampanthar Atheenam Srilasri Somasunthara Paramachcharya Swamigal and several leading Hindu dignitaries attended the consecration ceremony which was conducted by a group of leading Hindu priests from Jaffna and Colombo, sources said.

The first Kumbabisheham was held in 1903, exactly one hundred years ago. Second and third Kumabishekam were held in 1910 and 1976. According to Hindu Shastras, Hindu temples should be consecrated every twelve years, Hindu priests said.

However Thiruketheeswaram temple was not consecrated after 1976 following the closure of the temple by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) as it launched a large military operation in the Mannar district in 1990, temple authorities said.

About forty pilgrim rests located in the vicinity of the temple to facilitate the devotees were destroyed by the SLA in its military operation, Hindu sources said.

Further, the SLA established its camps in and around the temple. Daily poojahs in the temple came to a standstill when the SLA occupied the temple and its vicinity. The SLA did not allow the temple authorities to even to light the "Moolasthanam" (main deity) of the temple daily, sources said

The SLA vacated the temple and its vicinity recently following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Government of SriLanka (GoSL) and the LTTE, sources said

Temple authorities now face a challenge to accommodate the visiting devotees to the newly consecrated temple by constructing pilgrim rests in place of destroyed ones. They need funds to complete this project, temple sources said.

Saiva saints Thirugnanasampanthar Nayanar has praised Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple in his Thirukonasala Pathikam written in seventh century.

Likewise Suntharamoorthy Nayanar praised Thiruketheeswaram in Mannar district in his Thiruketheeswara Pathikam, several centuries ago, Hindu teachers said. Both temples have an exalted and unique place in the religious life of the Hindus. Thousands gather on Sivarathiri night for veneration of Lord Shiva in these two historic temples, sources said Thiruketheeswarm and Muneeswaram in the West, Thondeswaram in the South (in Dondra now in ruins), Koneswaram in the east and Naguleswaram in the North, temples dedicated to Hindu God Eswaran in all four sides of ancient Ceylon, were believed by Hindus to safeguard the little island from oceanic bed upheavals, convulsions and other natural disasters that prevailed in the region during the prehistoric eras, according to Hindu scriptures, sources said.


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