One of the five ancient Sivan temples in Sri Lanka.
Mannar’s history is steeped in tales of splendour way beyond the days of the colonisers. Mantai, the horseshoe port where princesses from Madurai, merchants from Persia and China traipsed, where trade and traders flourished was the foremost harbour from First to 11th century CE. Known as Manthottam in Tamil, it was once the hotspot of frequent navigation, port of call and centre of immigration. The site of this ancient port could be located with a little help from elderly villagers and clergymen. Although what remains of this once thriving port is two moats separated by elevated mounds of earth, the Thiruketheeswaram temple at the centre of the horseshoe, supposedly constructed by a Chola officer in the 10th century CE at the height of South Indian incursions, which signified the end of prosperity associated with the port is an imposing legacy of a flourishing port city. Some believe that the temple was built and maintained by merchants from South India. Dedicated to the deity Shiva, the temple comes alive with lights and celebration during Maha Sivaratri, a festival celebrated each year in reverence of Shiva.
|Venue name:||Thiruketheeswaram Kovil|