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Location of Sri Lanka

Naguleswaram temple also Keerimalai Kovil is a Hindu temple which is north of the main town of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. It is close to the port city of Kankesanthurai. It is dedicated to main deity in Shaivism namely Lord Siva and is one of the five ancient Sivan temples around the island.

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Calendar · Hindu law
Ayurveda · Jyotisha
Festivals · Glossary Persecution


Mythical origins

The temple is situated close a mineral water spring called Keerimalai Springs reputed for its curative properties. There is also a cave complex nearby believed to have been used for meditation by a mythical sage called Nagula Muni. Further a local myth states that an Indian Pandyan princess named Maruthapura Veeravalli built the nearby Mavidapuram Murukan temple after she was cured by the Keerimalai springs.

Mentioned in Puranams

The temple is referenced in many Indian religious treatises such as Dakshina Kailasa Puranam and Skanda Puranam.

Destruction by the Portuguese

After 1505 ACE it was destroyed by Portuguese colonialists. The final destruction was recorded in 1621 ACE. The local brahmin priests are said to have hid the main icons before fleeing the temple.


After a gap of almost 400 years in 1894 ACE, local Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu people of under the urging of Hindu reformer Arumuka Navalar came together and built the present temple. However the temple was destroyed by fire in 1918 and had to be rebuilt.

Occupation by Sri Lankan Army

In 1983, the temple was occupied by the Sri Lankan army and devotees and priests were unable to visit the premises without special permits.

In 1990, the 18th of October the Sri Lankan Air force bombed the temple killing a number of civilians and destroying the temple.

The chief priest was allowed in 1997 and discovered that the temple was utterly in ruin with the sacred icons vandalized or missing. The temple has not been restored.

See also




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