Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sri Koneswarar Temple, Trincomalee District, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka

Sri Koneswarar Temple, Trincomalee District, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka

Compiled by
Elango Kadhirvel

Ø  This Temple is located in Trincomalee District in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka
Ø  Nearest airport is the China Bay Airport also called the Trincomalee Airport
Ø  Around 250 kilometers from both the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo and the Jaffna Palaly Airport

Presiding Deities
Ø  Lord Shiva as Sri Koneswarar (Kone + Eswarar)
o   Ko or Kone in Tamil means "King" or "Chief" à Literally meaning Chief Lord
Ø  Goddess Parvathi as Sri MadhumaiyaaL

Ø  Dakshina Kailash
o   Heralded as "Dakshina Kailash"/"Then Kailasham" (Kailash of the South) because it lies on exactly the same longitude as the Tibetan mountain Mount Kailash (believed to be the primary abode of Lord Shiva)
o   Kachiyappa Sivachariar’s Skanda Puranam compares this temple to Thillai Chidambaram Temple and Mount Kailash in Shaivite esteem
Ø  One of Sri Lanka's most potent pilgrimage sites revered by Hindus and Buddhists alike
o   Perched atop a bluff called Swami Rock, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, the temple today lies entirely within Fort Frederick, built by the Portuguese
o   The ancient shrine called Temple of a Thousand Columns was known far and wide in the Hindu world until 1622, when the Portuguese used chunks of it to construct their fort and then pushed the rest into the sea
o   Noted science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, who made his later-life home in Sri Lanka, surveyed the temple's underwater ruins while scuba diving near Swami Rock in 1956
§  In 1956, while scuba diving, Clarke uncovered ruined masonry, architecture and idol images of the sunken original Koneswaram temple – including carved columns with flower insignias, and stones in the form of elephant heads – spread on the shallow surrounding seabed
§  Other discoveries included bronze statues from the original shrine, and these discoveries are described in Clarke's 1957 book The Reefs of Taprobane
o   Describing the findings as "among the finest examples of Hindu bronze sculpture known to exist," Clarke was largely responsible for expanding public awareness of the historic site and its valued artifacts
o   1963, the locals restored the temple and reinstalled many of its original images
o   It shares a similarly pious atmosphere and is considered one of Sri Lanka's most potent pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists alike
Ø  Ancient History
o   This temple is believed to have a history of around 3200 years
o   This place was originally called as Thiri-koodam
§  During that period there were three temples via one on the hill top, one at the middle and third at the base of the hill
o   The old temple was destroyed by the Portuguese after taking the drawings of Vimanams and Rajagopurams
o   The Moorthams (Idols) were saved by the devotees and  were dropped in the wells and ponds by them
o   New temple reconstruction was started after independence in 1950 and the Shiva Lingam was brought from Kashi
o   The present temple was reconstructed  as per Shiva Aagama
o   The old moorthams were as taken from the wells and ponds were reinstalled
Ø  One of the “Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalankal” (meaning Shrines revered in the Thevaaram Hymns of the Shaivite Saints)
o   The Paadal Petra Sthalam temples that are revered in the verses of Shaiva Nayanars in the 6th-9th century AD and are amongst the greatest Shiva temples of the continent
o   There are two Paadal Petra Sthalams in Eezha Naadu (Sri Lanka)
§  This is First Sthalam (Shrine) of the Eezha Naadu (Sri Lanka)
§  The second is ThiruKeteeswaram

Ø  Patanjali MaaMuni, who gave Yoga to the World
o   Thirumoolar's seventh-century Tamil Thiru-Manthiram, describes Patanjali MaaMuni as hailing from “Then Kailasham” (Koneswaram temple, Trincomalee), and tradition has him visiting the Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, where he wrote the Charana Shrungarahita Stotram on Sri Nataraja

Quotes/Hymns – Tamil Hymn by Saint Poet ThiruGnanaSambandar
தாயினும் நல்ல தலைவர்! என்று அடியார் தம் அடி போற்று-இசைப்பார்கள்
வாயினும் மனத்தும் மருவி நின்று அகலா மாண்பினர், காண் பலவேடர்,
நோயிலும் பிணியும் தொழலர்பால் நீக்கி நுழைதரு நூலினர் - ஞாலம்
கோயிலும் சுனையும் கடல்உடன் சூழ்ந்த கோணமாமலை அமர்ந்தாரே!

Transliterated Text
Thaayeenum nalla thalaivar! Endru adiyaar tham adi pottru isaipaarkal
Vaayinum manaththum maruvi nindru akalaa maaNpinar, KaaN pala-vedar,
Noyilum piNiyum thozhalar-paal neekki nuzhai-tharu noolinar - Gnaalam
Koilum sunaiyum kadal-udan soozhintha KoNa-MaaMalai amarinthaare!

The Lord at ThiruKoneswaram!  (Koneswaram, is surrounded by tanks and by sea)
-          The Lord Showers much more than Motherly Love!
-          The Lord Would Never Leave the Hearts/Mouths/Mind of HIS Devotees, who constantly remember HIM!
-          HE has many many forms which are visible ONLY to the subtle eye
-          HE Removes the physical ailments and the spiritual impurities from those who have the business of constantly remembering HIM!



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