Munneswaram Temple

Located just off the town of Chilaw, the Munneswaram temple is one of five ancient Iswarams dedicated to Lord Shiva. A complex of five temples, the central one being the Shivam temple, it is held in deep veneration by both Hindus and Buddhists. Every year in August or September, it hosts the Munneswaram festival over a period twenty eight days which is attended by thousands of devotees who gather here from around the country. The festival begins with the hosting of the temple flag, and over the following days special poojas are conducted within the premises of the temple. On the penultimate night, a huge wooden chariot bearing the statue of Lord Shiva is pulled by devotees through the temple grounds, and the festival culminates the following morning with the chariot being taken to the Deduru Oya river nearby where a water cutting ceremony takes place.

Munneswaram also has mention in the Ramayana epic, which marks it as the place where King Rama of India prayed to Lord Shiva after doing battle with King Ravana.

Written by Jonathan Roelofsz for

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