Naguleswaram Temple (Keerimalai)

Naguleswaram Temple
Naguleswaram Temple, also known as Nakuleswaram Kovil (Tamil: கீரிமலை நகுலேஸ்வரம் கோயில்; Sinhala: නගුලේශ්වරම් කෝවිල, කීරිමලේ), is a Hindu shrine situated in Keerimalai in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. The popular Keerimalai Bathing Pond is also located near Naguleswaram temple.

It is believed by the Hindus that Naguleswaram is one of the five recognized Iswarams of Siva, which was in Sri Lanka, long before the arrival of Vijaya in the 6th century B.C. (Arumugam, 1991). The names Nagulaswaram and Keerimalai, have come into parlance as this place is said to be the residence of a Munivar (a sage) named Nakula Muni who lived his life of penance in a cave located at the foot of the Nakula-malai, a hill so called after him (Britto, 1879; Raghavan, 1971). Nakula/Nagula in Sanskrit and Keeri in Tamil mean "mongoose" and the Munivar was so named from the resemblance which his face bore to that of a mongoose (Britto, 1879). From these local names, the place got its present names Naguleswaram and Keerimalai (Raghavan, 1971).

Literary mentions & folklore
The Yalpana Vaipava Malai, mentions Naguleswaram as one of the temples founded by Vijaya (6th century B.C.) in the North of the country (Britto, 1879). In the 15th century A.D., Sapumal Kumaraya [King Bhuvanekabahu VI (1470-1478 A.D.)], the builder of Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, is said to have visited Keerimalai and paid obeisance to the Naguleswaram temple (Arumugam, 1991; Raghavan, 1971). 

The temple is said to have been demolished as happened to all other Hindu temples in the North, by the hands of the Portuguese in the 17th century A.D. (Arumugam, 1991; Wijebandara, 2014). 

Modern temple
The present Sivan temple for Naguleswaranathar and Naguleswari Ambal was established at the site in 1859, during the era of the revival of Hinduism spearheaded by Arumuga Navalar (Arumugam, 1991; Wijebandara, 2014).

A protected site
Naguleswaram Kovil and the old Sirapper Ambalama located close by in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. fma/226 Naguleswaram in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Tellipallai are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 30 December 2011.

Ruined structures Ruined structures Sirapper Ambalama


See also
1) Arumugam, S., 1991. More Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. London. pp.17-18
2) Britto, C., 1879. The Yalpana-Vaipava-Malai or The history of the Kingdom of Jaffna: Translated from the Tamil, with an appendix and a glossary by C. Britto. Colombo. pp.3-4.
3) Raghavan, M.D., 1971. Tamil culture in Ceylon. Kalai Nilayam. p.131.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1739. 30 December 2011. p.1093.
5) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.127-130.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 18 September 2022

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