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Sacred places

   Other Buddhist sites    Other Religious Places  

 Other Religious Places to visit in Sri Lanka 


katharagama   koneshwaran   Nallur Kandasamy front entrance   munneshwaran t   captain  
Kataragama Devalaya   Tirukoneswaram Kovil    Nalloor Kandaswamy Kovil   Munneswaram Temple   Captains Garden Hindu Kovil  
sithaammankovil   Madhu Church TC 0226 2   ThalavialStAnneChurch   ShrineBasilicaofourLadyLanka   KetchimalaI BERUWALA  
Sitha amman Kovil   Madu Church   Thalavial St. Anne's Church  

Shrine & Basilica

of our Lady of Lanka 

  Beruwala Mosque   

Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya


katharagama  
Katharagama Devalaya   

According to legendary history Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya was built by King Dutugemunu around 160 years B.C. in fulfillment of a vow to defeat King Elara in battle. It was endowed with large extent of land by King Dutugemunu for its maintenance and subsequent monarchs did likewise.
The 'building is a simple structure of two apartments and with no embellishments or show of grandeur. It has not undergone any major structural alterations, during this long period of over 2,000 years since its construction.
Rubeiro in his History of Ceylon says that 'four leagues inland from this spot (the salterns in Hambantota) is a Pagoda held in great reverence by the Grutiles; here are preserved the offerings which had been made for many ages, consisting of gold, jewels and precious stones, and 500 armed men are always maintained in its defence”.
This was in 1642 when Rubeiro was one of the 150 Portuguese and 2,000 Lascarins who made a vain attempt to locate this Pagoda and plunder its wealth, but “were forced to turn back the way we had come without effecting anything and without even seeing the Pagoda, which is called Catergao”.

Katharagama Deviyo (God Kataragama)

katharagama1  
Katharagama God  

He has many names; Murugan, Arumugam, Kandasami (Skanda Swami), Subrahmanya, etc. He is the fearful god of war or youthful god of wisdom. Kataragama Deviyo is identified in human form illustrated in the front curtain of the shrine accosted by his two wives riding on a peacock, his vehicle of transport. He was once real and full of blood as other human beings but became legendary. Thus the person deified as Kataragama Deviyo is a combination of two spiritual gods Kadira Deva and Skanda Kumar worshiped as one god.

 

 

 

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Nallur Kandaswamy Temple - Jaffna


Nallur Kandasamy front entrance  
Nallur Kandaswamy Temple   

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil or Nallur Murugan Kovil is one of the most significant Hindu temples in the Jaffna District. It stands in the town of Nallur. The presiding deity is Lord Muruga.
Origins
Due to political reasons the Temple was shifted from place to place in Nallur area. Although it is believed that the first Temple was originally built in 948 A.D at the land called 'Kurukkal Valavu', due to foreign invasion the Temple had to be re-constructed number of times in different places.
The third temple was established by Chempaka Perumal a ruler in the services of the southern Kotte kingdom when he defeated the local Jaffna Kingdom ruler. The third temple was destroyed by the Portuguese catholic colonials after their arrival in 1505 A.D. in Sri Lanka.
Current temple
The fourth and the present Temple was constructed in 1749 A.D. during the beginning Dutch colonial era by one Krishna Suba Iyer and Ragunatha Maapaana Mudaliyar in the 'Kurukkal Valavu', which is the original temple premises.
Initially the Temple was built using bricks and stones, and had a cadjaned roof. The original shrine had only two main halls and didn't have any clock tower, or any surrounding courtyard and an enclosing wall, or any ornately carved towers or gopuram.
The first clock tower was erected in 1899, and the main hall where the vel or lance of the deity resides was re-furbished using rocks in 1902. The first enclosing wall was erected in 1909. Likewise, the temple has been gradually renovated from time to time with contributions from the general public. In 1964, the 'Vasantha Mandapam' or grand hall was renovated to have the present grand look and feel.
The temple has the main entrance facing the east. It has an ornately carved five-storied tower or gopuram in the Dravidian architecture style at the main entrance.
In the surrounding inner-yard, it has shrines for Lords Ganesh, Vairavar, Sun and Sandana Gopala. In the southern part of this Temple, the holy pond and Thandayudhapaani shrine dedicated to another aspect of Lord Muruga can be seen. In the northern side big holy garden is located.
Festivals
The temple hosts the annual Temple car festival.
Thaipusam is an annual religious event celebrated by Hindus to commemorate the victory of Lord Murugan over the demon, Tarakasuran. Devotees and penitents can seen bearing kavadis, and piercing their bodies with hooks and spears without seeming to cause any pain or harm as an act of faith and atonement.

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Munneswaram Temple - Chilow


munneshwaran  
Munneswaram Teple   

Munneswaram temple also Muneswaram, Muniswaram or Munnicuvaram is a popular Hindu temple which is north of the capital Colombo. It is close to the coastal fishing town of Chilaw. It is dedicated to main deity in Saivism namely Lord Siva and is one of the five ancient Sivan temples around the island. Just like Kataragama it too has become primarily a Sinhalese Buddhist place of pilgrimage but unlike Kataragama, the temple still is maintained by local Hindus.
Origin
Like other ancient Siva temples across the island, this temple too many origin theories steeped in myth and mythology. The temple is associated with pearling and fishing town of Chilaw that has been historically populated by fisher groups such as Mukkuvar from South India. The temple is also closely associated with a nearby Kali shrine. The Kali shrine is a popular sorcery and cursing shrine associated with animal sacrifices and spirit possession amongst local Sinhalese and Tamils.

 

Annual festival
The annual Munneswaram festival is an important part of the Temple calendar. It lasts for 27 days usually in the months of August and September. The festival begins with the hoisting of the Temple flag. This is followed by 13 days of internal devale peraheras (Sinhalese for Temple processions) conducted in the outer area of the big temple.
Devotees visit the Temple to attend the pujas and make their offerings. Booths are specially erected outside for the sale of food, drink, brassware, pottery, cloth and holy images. On the penultimate day of the festival there is a very special car procession, when the god's image is placed upon a huge wooden juggernaut and pulled around the temple by devotees.
On the next and final day of the festival, two large chariots gaily decked are drawn by the devotees to the Deduru-oya, a local river for the diya-kepima or water-cutting ceremony. Images of Siva and his consort Parvati take pride of position between the two chariots. The statue of Ganesha goes in front with that of Skanda locally identified with deity of Kataragama following him.
After the water cutting ceremony the procession goes back to the Temple along a decorated route through Chilaw town, accompanied by traditional Hindu Nadeswaram music. On the way back the procession passes two temples the Ayyanar or Ayyanayake (Sinhalese version of the deity) temple dedicated to a presiding deity over forests, fields and irrigation reservoirs, and the Kali temple

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Captain's Garden Hindu Temple - Colombo


captain  
Captain's Gargen Hindu Temple   

This is an ancient Hindu temple which has a recorded histry of more than 400 years.It has a beautiful colourful roof with hundreds of god pictures.Inside the temple anybody can see different chambers for different Hindu Gods,Also there is a special place for 9 planets.One can see the beautiful wale chariots outside the temple.There are special ceremonies each day so that anybody can participate.

 

 

 

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Seetha Amman Temple


sithaammankovil  
Sitha Amman Temple   

Seetha Amman Temple is located approximately 1 kilometer from Hakgala Botanical Garden.The temple is located in the village called "Seetha Eliya". This place is believed to be the place where Sitha held captive by the king Ravana in the Lanka of the epic, Ramayana. There is a stream by the side of the temple. It is believed that Sitadevi bathed in this stream. It is interesting to note that foot prints akin to Lord Hanuman's are found on the rocks along this river and some are of small size and some are of large size, which indicating the immense power of Lord Hanuman transforming himself into any size.

 

 

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Thirukoneeswaram Temple - Trincomalee


koneshwaran  
Thirukoneeswaram Temple   

Thirukoneeswaram and Tirukonamalai temples in Sri Lanka are in the heart of the northeast and northwest coastal regions.
Foraging around for legends, we came across a few that were vital to the temple. The Asura, Kethu, stealthily swallowed a portion of the Divine Nectar obtained by churning the Ocean of Milk, which would confer immortality on him alone. Vishnu beheaded him and Kethu wandered headless until Bragma took pity on him and transformed him into the planets Rahu and Kethu. Restless with the burden of sin, Kethu came to Ketheeswaram, propitiated Lord Siva and obtained moksha. Thus the place came to be known as Tiru — Kethu — eeswaram.
Around the main sanctum are the usual goshtamurthis — Sri Dakshinamurthi, Lingothbhava, Brahma, Durga, and Chandeswara. Chandrasekhara, Bhairava, Bikshadana, Sandhyatandavamurthy, Skanda, the panchalingas, the Navagrahas, Chandra and Surya have their own niches in the prakaram. A special shrine houses the all-important Kethu. A two-ton temple bell is housed in a colourful belfry. The peals are surprisingly clear and pleasant. The old, damaged flag post is being replaced by a 42-feet teak one obtained with great difficulty from the adjoining teak forests. Stone pillars and components for the completion of the temple are being sculpted at Mahabalipuram.

 

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St Anne’s Church Thalawila (Kalpitiya)


ThalavialStAnneChurch  
St. Anne’s Church Talawila   

St. Anne’s Talawila, is one of the most ancient Christian Shrines of Sri Lana. Its origin is convered in the midst of tradition. There are two accounts of it, the most popular of which says that a European trader, traveling in a ship dedicated to St. Anne, was shipwrecked off the coast of Talawila in the early half of the 18th century. As the place where they managed to land was inhospitable, they were looking out for a place of rest. They espied a large banyan tree at a distance. Thither they went together with the statue of St. Anne which they had in their possession. This image, they deposited in the tree. The Master of the ship vowed to return and build a church if his business prospered. The European trader obviously met with success as he desired, and kept his word by building a church at the place where the statue of St. Anne had been deposited.
As the number of pilgrims from all parts of Sri Lanka flocking to the Shrine kept on increasing, the necessity for a larger church was felt. In 1837, the foundation for a new church was laid by Padre Catean but the major part of the work was left for Padre Neronha to complete. Both these Fathers were Goans from the Oratory founded by Ven. Fr. Joseph Vaz the Apostle of Sri Lanka. In the year 1848, the Shrine came under the administration of the OMI Fathers. The Shrine owes much of its spiritual and temporal progress to two great Oblates: Fr. Theophilus Andrew Melizan (Later Bishop) and Mgr. Christopher Bonjean (Later Archbishop of Colombo). Since 1939, the Shrine has been administered by the Diocesan Clergy of the Chilaw Diocese. Its first Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Edmund Peiris, spared no pains to make the Shrine a radiating Centre of Catholic spirituality not forgetful of material improvements to it. The present Bishop of Chilaw, Rt. Rev. Dr. F. Marcus Fernando, opened a convent of Rosarian Nuns at the Shrine.
The year 1988 witnessed further improvements to the Shrine. During the major feasts, a team of priests attend to the spiritual welfare of the pilgrims, Catechetical instructions.

 

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Shrine & Basilica of our Lady of Lanka (Tewatta –Ragama – Colombo)


ShrineBasilicaofourLadyLanka  
Shrine & Basilica of our Lady of Lanka   

The origins of this shrine date back to the beginning of this Century, when a little shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes (a little Chapel) was erected by a few Catholic laymen and Father A. Kieger OMI, in 1911, the area being then a part of the parish of Ragama. On 11 November 1917 Father A. Collorec OMI built a small Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes assisted by some Catholic workers from Colombo. The Chapel was later enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims, and in the 1930's the side of the Church built a large Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Church and Shrine with the "Holy Well" by its side gradually became a place of pilgrimage to the Catholics of Colombo Archdiocese.
When the War was declared in 1939, this Shrine gained prominence because of a Vow that the then Archbishop of Colombo, Mgr. Jean Marie Masson OMI, made to Our Lady (26 may 1940), that if Ceylon was spared the horrors of War, he would build a Votive Shrine in her honour under the title of Our Lady of Lanka. The mantle of fulfilling this vow and building the votive Shrine (later declared a Minor Basilica by the Holy Father), fell on this shoulders of his successor, Archbishop Cooray, (later His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray OMI). The construction of the edifice was completed in 1974. The Holy Father Pope Paul VI endowed the Church with the title of a Minor Basilica in 1973. The Basilica was consecrated on 6 February 1974 and Our Lady crowned as Our Lady of Lanka the same day.
The new Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes, quarried into a huge rock was completed in 1959, and blessed by the Most Rev. James R. Knox, the Apostolic Delegate for Ceylon, on 11 February 1959 (later Cardinal Knox)

 

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Madu Church- Mannar


Madhu Church TC 0226 2  
Madu Church   

The Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu is a Roman Catholic Marian shrine in Mannar district. With a history of over 400 years, this shrine acts as a center for pilgrimage and worship for Sri Lankan Catholics. The site is considered as the holiest Catholic shrine in the island and is a well known place of devotion for both Tamil and Sinhalese Catholics alike. The church has been a symbol of unity not just between Tamils and Sinhalese, but also between people of different religions, including Buddhists, Hindus and Protestants. Attendance for the August festival at times touched close to a million people.
Christianity in Sri Lanka is not well known before the 16th century although some local traditions claim that Saint Thomas the Apostle was active in the island. The Portuguese missionaries from India, especially under the authority of Saint Francis Xavier are known to have brought Roman Catholicism to the Kingdom of Jaffna, which comprised the northern peninsula of Sri Lanka. The newly converted Christians were under persecution under both the king of Jaffna and the Dutch. During this time the Catholics regrouped to form a church in Mantai installing a statue of Our Lady of Good Health in a shrine.
Feast day at Madhu
In the year 1870 the new Bishop arranged an annual festival to be celebrated on the 2nd of July. But in recent years the August 15th festival draws the biggest crowds because it is one of the most hallowed days for Catholics celebrating the day of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven.

million people. 

 

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Town Hall Mosque – Colombo 


TOWNHALL  
Town Hall Mosque  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Beruwala Mosque – Beruwala


KetchimalaI BERUWALA  
Beruwala Mosque  
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