Gayathri Temple (Nuwara Eliya)

Gayathri Temple (Nuwara Eliya)
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Sri Gayathri Peedam, also known as Gayatri Kovil or Sri Lankatheeswarar Temple (Sinhala: නුවර එළිය ගයත්‍රී කෝවිල) is a Hindu temple situated near Nuwara Eliya town, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to Goddess Gayatri, one of the deities in the Hindu pantheon. According to the Skanda Purana, Gayatri is another name of Saraswati and is the consort of Brahma.

Established in 1992, this temple is considered the first Gayatri Kovil in the country (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, without any archaeological or historical evidence, this temple is presently promoted by some locals and tourist agencies as a sacred place related to the Indian epic Ramayanaya. According to them, during the mega battle, Meghanatha (or Indrajith), the son of King Ravana in order to defeat Indra decided to conduct an auspicious at Nikumbhila Chaitya for an assured victory but he couldn't do it as his plan was disrupted by Lakshmana. The Nikumbila Chaitya mentioned in this story, according to storytellers is none other than the present Gayatri Peedam. It is also said that Tri Moortis (Siva, Brahma and Visnu) appeared to Goddess Gayatri here when Meganatha performed Nikumbhila Yagna. However, as the authenticity of the Ramayanaya is controversial, it is today dismissed as a complete myth by Sri Lankan scholars (JRASSL, 2014).

The temple is patronized by the mercantile community as they firmly believe that they could achieve business prosperity by the grace of the deity (Abeyawardana, 2004). The Siva lingam preserved in the temple is said to have been brought from the holy Narmada River in India.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.215.
2) JRASSL, 2014. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka New Series, Vol. 59, No. 2, Special Issue on the Ramayana (2014). https://www.jstor.org/stable/i40203619. pp.1-112.

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This page was last updated on 20 August 2023
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