Guided visit to Nallur Kovil – Jaffna
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is one of Jaffna’s most significant Hindu temples and is the fourth re-built structure, since the original temple was built in 948. The temple is a socially important institution for the Sri Lankan Tamils Hindu identity of north Sri Lanka and for the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Located in the ancient capital town of Nallur in Jaffna, it is recorded that the center of the city was once a bustling market place, surrounded by a square fortification that sheltered courtly buildings for kings, Brahmin priests and soldiers. The old Nallur Kandaswamy temple functioned within this ancient defensive fort, among a city that was laid out like the traditional temple town according to Hindu traditions.
EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION: Nallur was originally built with four entrances with gates, there were two main roadways and four temples at the four gateways. The temple has been gradually renovated from time to time with contributions from the general public. You will enter through the temple’s main entrance, which faces east with an ornately carved five-story tower in Dravidian architecture. The surrounding inner yard has shrines for Lords Ganesh, Vairavar, Sun and Sandana Gopala. The southern wing is where the holy pond and Thandayudhapaani shrine dedicated to another aspect of Lord Muruga can be seen. A locked underground cellar of the temple was found to contain several Chola bronzes from the 10th century that had been given to the shrine. The temple’s presiding deity is Lord Murugan and its idol goddess was received as a gift in the 10th century CE by Chola queen Sembiyan Mahadevi.
Includes: Entrance Fees
Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours.
Meeting time on location: No specific time.
What to wear or bring along: Wearing a white shirt is a good idea, it shows respect, but it is not mandatory. You will need to cover your knees and shoulders – and access the inner temple barefoot or with socks. You will find socks in the basket inside the vehicle and a sarong in case you need one.
Private or not? The visit is private with your guide / chauffer guide / site guide.
In the know: The Pooja times are at 5am, 10am, noon, 4.15pm (small puja), 4.30pm (‘special’ puja ), 5pm and 6.45pm. Some prefer to see the Temple during a Pooja, a small ceremony of reverence involving drummers and dancers – there are more people during this time. Others prefer to see the temple outside of Pooja times to avoid the crowds.