Kailayanatha Pillayar Temple (Nallur)

Kailayanatha Pillayar Temple Nallur
Kailayanatha Pillayar Temple Nallur (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Kailayanatha Pillayar Temple, also known as Kailayanatar Temple or Kailasa Pillayar Kovil is a Hindu shrine situated in Nallur in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

This is believed to be the royal temple built by Cinkaiarian for the worship of his family (Kandiah, 2014; Pushparatnam, 2014).  Cinkaiarian, also known as Vijayakalinga Ariya, was the first Ariya Chakravarty from South India who eventually made Nallur the capital of his new Saivite Kingdom (Kandiah, 2014). The literary work of Muttukkavirayar titled "Kailayamalai" derived its name as it tells about this temple and according to it, Cinkaiarian constructed two temples dedicated to God Kailayanatar and his consort Goddess Umadevi and three Sabai and small temples for sub-deities and a street around the temple for the Car and Madam and Annacattiram (Kandiah, 2014; Pushparatnam, 2014). 

The temple was destroyed by the Portuguese (1597-1658 A.D.) who took control of the Jaffna Kingdom on 2 February 1620 (Kandiah, 2014). It is said that the priest of this temple fled to his village of Madduvil taking with him the Moorthy Vigrahams of Lingam and Devi which he dropped into temple ponds there in two different places (Kandiah, 2014). The Lingam was recovered from the pond later and it was placed in the Madduvil Sivan Temple (Kandiah, 2014). 

The temple was re-erected at the same site during the Dutch Period [(1658-1796 A.D.) Pushparatnam, 2014]. The Vimana of the temple has sculptures of Dutch-period soldiers and officials wearing Dutch dresses and jewellery (Pushparatnam, 2014).

1) Kandiah, T, 2014. Ancient Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. pp.1-2.
2) Pushparatnam, P., 2014. Tourism and monuments of archaeological heritage in Northern Sri Lanka. Author Publication. ISBN: 978-955-0811-08-3. p.107.

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This page was last updated on 6 May 2023

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