Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rs. 500 million from the Northern Province Development, Vadakkin Vasantham programme for the restoration of THIRUKETHEESWARAM temple..!!!

President declares Thirukethieswaram a sacred city
by K.T. Rajasingham

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared Thirukethieswaram as a sacred city for the Hindus.

Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Northern Development and the Northern Province Governor GA Chandrasri is seen chatting with the Hindus who came to participate in the Temple pooja in Thirukethieswaram

This was the first time an area where an oldest Hindu Temple is located has been declared as the sacred city in Sri Lanka. There had been many attempts in the past to get this status to the temple town, but in vain.

The Hindus in Sri Lanka and around the globe will be ever thankful to the kind act, the locals say.

Earlier, the Hindus met Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Advisor to President and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Northern Development and brought to his notice the desolate condition of one of the oldest historical Hindu temples, Thirukethieswaram.

Subsequently he visited the temple and saw for himself the condition of the temple. Accordingly it was decided to allocate Rs. 500 million from the Northern Province Development, Vadakkin Vasantham programme for the restoration of this temple.

Earlier in 1968, Minister M. Thiruchelvan of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi in his capacity as the Minister of Local Government in the UNP leader Dudley Senanayke's Government, appointed a committee to look into the question of Thirukoneswaram and its surroundings as a sacred area to Hindus.

But the then Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, threatened by opposition from Sinhalese chauvinists, overruled Thiruchelvan's decision.

And Thiruchelvan resigned his portfolio in November 1968 stating that Prime Minister's action, 'set at nought the unanimous wish of all Hindu religious bodies."

The United National Party which was always an anti-Tamil political formation was not even prepared to allow the Hindu Minister to declare Thirukoneswaram as sanctified temple and its surroundings as a sacred area to the Hindus of this country.

Thirukethieswaram, an ancient temple in Manthottamam, in Mannar District, is about seven miles north of the Mannar Town.

According to legend, it was at this ancient temple that Kethu Bhagavan worshipped Lord Easwaram (Shiva). Hence the shrine acquired the name of Thirukethieswaram. Iravana's father-in-law Mayan built the temple at Thirukethieswaram North of Mannar. December 13, 1893 was a red-letter day in the history of the Hindus of Sri Lanka.

On that day the jungle land in the extent of 40 acres , the old site of Tirukethieswaram was brought in for public auction by the Nagarthar of Jaffna in spite of the opposition of the Catholics.

The Saiva Paripalana Sabai through their treasurer S.M. Pasupathy Chettiyar spent a large sum in 1894 to trace the old site of the Temple and its premises.

From thence the temple was managed by the Nagarathar of Matota, and from 1919 by the Nagarathar of Jaffna.

Subsequently the temple came under the management of the Old and New Kathiresan temples of Colombo. The present temple Tirukethieswaram was renovated without any addition in August 1952 at the instance of Tirukethieswaram Restoration Society which was formed at the meetings of the Hindus of Colombo in October 1948.

Later the management came under a Panchayat of the Tirukethieswaram Restoration Society on which by a rule of the Society, the two temples in Colombo will always have representation.

The Society's undertaking is one of the most important and far-reaching revival movements started in the modern times by Hindus.

The Restoration Society has achieved much in the last fifteen years. Mention should be made of Sir Kanthiah Vaithianathan who is an active participant in the Restoration Movement.

As part of the civil war that has plagued the country since the Black July pogrom of 1983, the temple was occupied by the Sri Lankan Army till now. While these preparations were in progress the army took over the Temple and its environs in August 1990 and continued to occupy the same for several years.

Although they have left the Temple premises their occupation of its environs is a cause of concern to the Restoration Society which has been urging the Government to remove the Armed Forces completely from the environs of the temple.

The Thirukethieswaram Temple Restoration Society representing the Hindus of Sri Lanka has accelerated the pace of the restoration work and plans to have the Maha Kumbhabishekam in April/May 2003.

As the political situation was not favourable in the country until the LTTE was defeated in May 2009.

Now that a favourable political environment has reemerged, the Government has come forward to rebuild the sanctified temple and make the area sacred for the Hindus.

(Courtesy: Asian Tribune)

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