Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

Dating back to 948 AD, the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is one of the largest and historically accurate Hindu temples still existing in Sri Lanka. If the walls of the temple could talk, it would tell an interesting story of the many devotees that come to worship Lord Murugan or Skanda (the god of love, war and beauty in Hinduism). The most notable being the colourful festivals that have become a spectacle to witness by many around the world as it displays unique performances and a great experience overall.

Best Known For

Culture and Heritage:

  • The Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil’s design is inspired by the architecture of the ancient temple cities of Madura and Padaliputra of India which were elaborately decorated and is home to many deities.
  • The Kovil, however, is famous for being dedicated to Lord Murugan or Skanda (One of the many deities in Hinduism).
  • It has become a famous site to finish that ideal cultural visit to Jaffna since it hosts the Nallur Kovil festival, which lasts for 25 days showcasing some grand displays and ceremonies that have drawn crowds by the thousands around the world. The most notable events being the Ther Thiruvila (chariot festival), Theertham (water cutting festival), and the Thirukalyanam (the holy wedding).

Interesting Facts

  • The temple possesses an enduring origin story that has gone through turbulent periods.
  • The kovil was originally built in the 15th century by Sanpaha Perumal, the adopted son of King Bhuwenabahu of Kotte Kingdom as a sanctum for Lord Murugan.
  • However, the Portuguese colonization in the early 17th century CE meant the destruction of the kovil and the redundancy of its function.
  • It eventually was rebuilt and restored to its original grandeur in the middle of the 18th century CE as the Dutch colonisers allowed the practice of different faiths.
  • Ever since its restoration, the kovil has become an important monument to the Hindu world as it hosts many religious festivals and rituals, along with being one of the more notable sanctums of Lord Murugan.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Late August is considered to be the best time to visit the kovil as the entire town of Nallur is in festive mood for the 25-day long festival.
  • The kovil is opened throughout the day and night, however, the best experience is generally obtained during the day since many poojas (religious rituals) are performed making the visit much more interesting.
  • The kovil has a strict dress code that everyone has to adhere to; females should wear non revealing clothes that should be below knee length, males cannot wear garments above the waist.
  • Make sure you bring offerings like flowers, camphor and fruits in order to respect Hindu traditions when entering a kovil.
  • Entrance is free, however, witnessing a pooja will cost a nominal LKR 1.
  • Taking of pictures is strictly prohibited.

All in all, the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, with its enduring story and religious significance, is known all over the world and thousands flock to Jaffna, just to witness the grandeur of the kovil and the festivals it hosts.

Title image by: KNOWSL The information displayed is provided by Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil




Culture and Heritage

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