The earlier shrines of Kandaswamy in Nallur The original, Kandaswamy Temple was founded in 948 ad. According to the Yalpana Vaipava Malai, thetemple was developed at the site in the 15th century by Parakramabahu VI King of Kotte.
Sapumal Kumaraya (also known as Chempaha Perumal in Tamil), who ruled the Jaffna kingdom on behalf of the Kotte kingdom is credited with building the third Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Nallur served as the capital of the Jaffna kings, with the royal palace situated very close to the temple. Nallur was built with four entrances with gates. There were two main roadways and four temples at the four gateways.
The fourth and the present temple was constructed in 1734 A.D. during Dutch colonial era by 'Don Juan' Ragunatha Maapaana Mudaliyar, who served as a Shroff in the Dutch Katchery, in a place identified then as the 'Kurukkal Valavu. Krishnaiyar a Brahmin, served as the first priest of the temple.
Initially, the temple was built using bricks and stones and had a cadjan roof, enshrining a 'Vel' in the middle. The original shrine had only two small halls.
Ragunatha Maapaana Mudaliyar's descendants continued to administer the temple as Custodians of the temple over the past centuries and to date many additions have been made to bring the temple to its present Glory.
The temple hosts the annual festival which begins with the hoisting of the Holy flag – the Kodiyetram. The cloth for hoisting is ceremonially brought to the temple in a small chariot from a family belonging to the Sengunthar Kaikola Mudaliyar dynasty, for centuries.
The festival is spread over a period of twenty-five days during which various Yagams Abishekams and special poojas are conducted. The major religious festivals people flock to witness are the Manjam, Thirukkarthikai, Kailasavahanam, Velvimanam, Thandayuthepani it's a being, Sapparam, Ther festival procession, Theertham – the water cutting festival, and Thirukalyanam – The holy wedding. The Ther Thiruvila (chariot festival) is the most popular of all events is very colorful and commences at 6.15 am. The glamorously dressed Lord Shanmuhar and his consorts are carried out on a Silver Throne called 'Simmasanam', an intricately carved masterpiece created by the 7th Custodian, Arumuga Maapaana Mudaliyar in the year 1900. Hundreds of devotees carrying it on their shoulders, and the Simmasanam which floats on the heads of thousands of devotees shouting 'Aro haraam' is a sight not to be missed.
The huge and heavy chariot carrying the statue of God Shanmuhar and consorts is paraded along the streets of the Temple. The chariot pulled by a rope of thousands of devotees, rich and poor, old and young stands shoulder to shoulder in pulling it giving God Murugan the opportunity to witness the sincerity and purity of the devotees.
Throughout the month of August, the kovil marks the annual Nallur festival, a month-long celebration of faith, tradition and community.
Address: M2FH+RQ8, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 212 219 353