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Keerimalai~A Land of Sacred Springs & Spirituality

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Keerimalai” natural springs is known for its water and rituals. The water with mineral contents has curative value. Hindus believe the water here has miraculous powers to cure many diseases. According to many legends, the sage “Nagula Muni” was born with mongoose face and meditated in a cave in “Keerimalai”. He bathed in “Keerimalai” springs and his mongoose face turned into a human face. "Keerimalai" was known as Thiruthambaleswaram.

featuring pictures from Keerimalai ~ Manickavasagar Thiruvasagam ~ Rendered by Ilaiyaraaja ~ "Masatra Sothi" ~


“Keerimalai” is 50 feet above the main sea level, and situated West of Palaly. The fresh water comes from an underground fresh water spring. Hindus flock in large numbers on “Aadi Amaavaasai” day which falls during the Tamil month of “Aadi”, to carry out rituals for their forefathers and take a divine dip in the natural springs. These rituals are usually carried out by men. “Keerimalai” is famous for “Aadi Amaavaasai” and continues to be the foremost place.

“Nagulaambigai Sametha Sri naguleswara Perumaan” temple (commonly known as “Naguleswaram” temple) spreads to 50,000 square feet. “Naguleswaram” temple is one of the hallowed Sivan temples (Pancha Ishwaram) in Sri Lanka is situated here as well. Lord Siva is the destroyer or transformer. He is viewed as the supreme deity in Hinduism. There are five famous Ishwaram~ Sivan temples in Sri Lanka. They are Thirukoneswaram in trincomalee, Thiruketheeswaram in Mannar, Naguleswram in Jaffna, Munneswaram in Chilaw and Kokkattichcholai Thaanthondreeswaram in Batticaloa.


Click for more pictures

Naguleswaram temple stands supreme in Jaffna Peninsula, North of Sri Lanka. It is endowed with special three attributes such as Moorthy (deity), Thalam (temple) and Theerththam (water).

The old “Naguleswaram” temple was destroyed by the Portugese in 1621. A Brahmin priest, who fled the area during the Portugese regime, took the valuables from the temple, put and preserved them in a well according to Yaazhpaana Vaipava Maalai. In 1878, Hindu reformer Sreelasri Aarumuga Naavalar campaigned to rebuild the temple. After 17 years, the consecration ceremony took place at “Naguleswaram”. But, due to an accidental fire in 1918, the temple was severely damaged. The current temple is being renovated, and nearly 70% of the construction work is completed so far.

~ passionParade ~


I read the thoughts of a literary-inclined Tamil in a diaspora Tamil newspaper :-

"Ten-thousands miles away I nostalgically think of
my Homeland. I breathe, dream of the sights and sounds of Nallur Kandasamy Alaysam, Keerimalai, Thiruketheeswaram, Koneswaram and Madu-madha. My family helped to take me out of the insecurity of my war-ravaged land. But can they take my beloved Vadakilakku from my mortal frame. I dream of that day when my people will once more live in peace, security, dignity and joy with their brothers and sisters in that sunny isle. Perhaps I will have the fortune to step on my forefathers' soil then"


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | January 5, 2011 09:08 AM

Thank you for the beautiful pictures.

Posted by: MA | January 5, 2011 09:06 PM

Please read:Place.names
Keerimalai, கீரிமலை (Yapanaya [Jaffna])
Disc.- This is a famous Hindu shrine; Nakulesvaran temple.
Malai in T., Male in Sinhalese. is hill, Keera → Ksheera in
Sanskrit; the name could arise from the 'milky' coloured limestone
rock where the temple stands.
But a deeper history lies underneath
The Nakulisa deity, worshiped by the Pasupata cult (5-6th century)
was a fusion of early south Indian Buddhism and Hinduism
into an anti-Vedic saivism.
Details about the Pasupata cult.
Nakulisa→ Nukulesvaram is the Hindu God celebrated at the Keerimalai temple
The words Nagula in sanskrit, and Nakula in Pali,
mean 'Mongoose'. It was literally translates to Tamil as 'Keeri' (Chola period)
Subsequently, legends relating Nakulesvaran as having a mongoose face,
were absorbed in the transition to a Saiva temple
Prior to the rise of the Pasupatha cult in India, both south India
and Jaffna were majoritarian Buddhist, Jain regions.
The names Nakula, Pakula, or Vakula are well known in early Buddhist
texts. In Tibetan art and texts, the 9th Arhant is given as Vakula and holds
a mongoose. Buddhist texts mention a 'Nakulpitra' as the father of the
Arhant associated with the mongoose. These, together with the depiction
of Nakulisa in a Buddhist style in Pasupatha art (Bhuvanesvar, Orissa)
suggest the strong influence of Mahayana on the early Pauspatha cult.
A pre-Pasupatha Mahayana shrine associated with Vakula may have
existed at this site in pre-Chola times during the rise of Mahayana
influence in Sri Lanka, from ~200 CE., while the Pasupata came later.
This may have been preceded by a purely Buddhist shrine prior to the
rise of the Mahayana influence in Sri Lanka.
The Pali texts 'Rasavahini' and ''Sahassavatthupakarana' give some
information on ancient Jaffna(Nakadivu). Given that Kirikanda (Keeramalai)
is probably the highest point in the Yapanaya area, it would have been
a natural choice for a temple in pre-christian era Buddhist Jaffna.
Also, archaeological excavations are a crying need.
Thus, confirmation of the identity of the names Tambapanni Sara
in Pali and Tamben Vila in Sinhala would be valuable.
Mahasiva Rathri resumed in 1998 after a long lapse during
LTTE control. කිරිකන්ද
Keridamadu (Mooladoova [Mullaitivu])

Posted by: bodhi | January 9, 2011 05:28 PM

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