Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple

Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple
Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple (Tamil: மாவிட்டபுரம் கந்தசாமி கோவில்; Sinhala: මාවිද්දපුරම් කන්දසාමි කෝවිල) is a Hindu Kovil situated in Maviddapuram in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the War God of the Hindu pantheon. In the Tamil language, Maviddapuram means the City of Horse or the City of the indifferent (Wijebandara, 2014). The annual festival of the temple is held in July and August with the water-cutting ceremony at Kirimalai Tertakeni (Pushparatnam, 2014).

There are several legends that describe how the original temple of this site was established. A popular story says that this temple was built in the 8th century when Ukrasinkan with his queen Marutappuravalli ruled in Katiramalai (Pushparatnam, 2014). According to another legend, a princess who was on the way to a Sthalam (a sacred site) in Keerimalai had seen an elder called Sadaiyanar worshipping a symbol of God Skanda Kumara (or Murugan/Vel) placed under a mango tree (Pushparatnam, 2014; Wijebandara, 2014). Seeing this the princess wanted to build a complete temple there for Skanda Kumara and she informed that to her father (Wijebandara, 2014). It is said that her father sent an architect and a sculptor to build the temple (Wijebandara, 2014).

According to Mahabharata (a major Sanskrit epic of ancient India), the face of this princess had been turned into a horse face due to some kind of curse [(However, according to the view of some, this was a facial disfigurement caused by a disease) Wijebandara, 2014]. After hearing about the miraculous healing properties of the Spring at Keerimalai, she visited that site, bathed in the freshwater spring and performed necessary religious rituals every day (Wijebandara, 2014). As a result of that, she gained her beautiful human face back and it is said that she finished the remaining construction works of the Maviddapuram temple (Wijebandara, 2014).

Yalpana Vaipava Malai mentions that the Jaffna kings supported this temple (Pushparatnam, 2014).

Destruction & reconstruction
Portuguese who arrived in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 16th century destroyed this temple in the 17th century and dismantled it to obtain materials for building their Fort at Kayts (Haramoto et al., 2015; Pushparatnam, 2014; Wijebandara, 2014). However, with the revival of Hinduism, the temple was reconstructed at the site in 1782 (Haramoto et al., 2015; Pushparatnam, 2014; Wijebandara, 2014). The ritual objects that had been hidden in a well by priests before fleeing the temple are said to have been recovered and placed again in the temple (Pushparatnam, 2014; Wijebandara, 2014).

The main entrance (or Raja Gopuram) and the hall located towards the west of the temple have been built at a later period. The interior of the shrine room has been finished with tough granite stones in 1927 (Wijebandara, 2014). The magnificently carved chariot was added to the temple in 1943 (Wijebandara, 2014).

A protected monument
Mavaddipuram Kandasami Kovil situated in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. fma/232 Mawaddipuram in the Tellipalai Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 30 December 2011.

Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple
1) Maavittapuram Kandasamy by Gane is licensed under CC BY-SA2.0

1) Haramoto, T.; Inouchi, C.; Koizumi, Y.; Fukuyama, Y., 2015. Survey Report on the Protection and Utilisation of Cultural Property in the Northern and Northeastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage. pp.45-46.
2) Pushparatnam, P., 2014. Tourism and monuments of archaeological heritage in Northern Sri Lanka. Author Publication. ISBN: 978-955-0811-08-3. pp.27-28.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1739. 30 December 2011. p.1093.
4) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.135-137.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 30 April 2023

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