Nallur Kandhaswamy Kovil

Nallur in Jaffna

Nallur is a populated village located about 3km south of the city center of Jaffna. Nallur, according to the Poturguese historian in Ceylon, De Queyroz, was a lovely little village. There were tanks at Nallur brimming with water yet weren’t used by many. He has narrated the lovely purple flowers growing on these tanks were called ‘Manel Mal’ (Sinhala: Purple Lotus) that grow on most reservoirs of every part of Sri Lanka. Nallur, according to Portuguese sources, had a great Sinhala (Chingalaz, as the Portuguese spelled) populace. “Two sailors, both brave men, Pero Travacos, a native of Cochim, and Braz de Couto of Truquel in the Boroughs of Alcobaca, offered to go and discover them. They landed with all precaution, but were at once surrounded by the Chingalaz within sight of the Manchua (Type of Malaylam boat) in which they went,” The Muslim Mosque, did once stand at Nallur, till been burned and destroyed by the Catholic Padre of Jaffna during the early 1600?s. Portuguese have well recorded their battles in Jaffna against the Sinhalese, Muslims and Vadukas at Nallur.

Nallur Kandhaswamy Kovil in Jaffna

Nallur Kandhaswamy Kovil, main landmark of Jaffna located 3km northeast of the town center, dedicated to the Hindu God Murugan was built in 1807 during the British occupation. The original shrine, a devalaya featuring the statues of Hindu Gods and Buddha, built by the Prince Sapumal of Kotte Kingdom, the vice royal of Jaffna Peninsula was destroyed by the Portuguese, on the 2nd of Feb 1625. To date at the Nallur Kandhaswami Kovil, prayers are recited in the name of Prince Sapumal of Kotte. According to the head of the Franciscan order in Ceylon, father Negaro, who had studied all available records, while in the Kingdom, Prince Sapumal after ascending the throne of Kotte as King Buvanekabahu VI had decided to populate the Northern area’s as majority of these areas were deserted. To date at the Nallur Kandhaswami Kovil, prayers are recited in the name of Prince Sapumal of Kotte.

Today the Kovil has developed into an enormous complex encompassing numerous shrines accessed by richly decorated corridors. Within the complex are a beautiful courtyard and a large tank. Since the temple was built in the year 1734 to 1749, it contained a shrine dedicated to an Islamic Sufi saint. However in the year 1749, dargah, the vault of the Islamic saint was removed by the Hindus.