In Reverence of Goddess Amman: ‘Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal’ Temple at Nanthaavil

Text and Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Temple worship is an integral part of Hinduism. Illustrative of this “Kopuram” or the tower over the main entrance of the temple is splendidly covered with sculpted images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and celestial beings.

The tower is meant to be visible from afar, so that devotees can even say their prayers from a distance. A popular Tamil saying goes “Kopura Tharisanam Kodi Punniyam” worshiping the tower of the temple is goodness in a million fold.

Ardent devotees from High Security Zone in Jaffna, and have been displaced for more than 20 years,live in Kokkuvil

The “Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal” temple is situated in Nanthaavil, in Kokkuvil East in Jaffna District. Built in 1743, it’s one of the many famous “Amman” temples in the Jaffna Peninsula.

The temple was damaged like many other Hindu temples in the district during the war. A young Hindu priest was killed by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) during their presence in the Peninsula in 1988, immediately after he completed performing the “pooja” at dawn. Later, the temple was purified and rebuilt, and now all the “poojas” are regularly performed. The annual temple festival takes place during the Tamil month of June.

Enchanting entrance gateway to the “Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal” temple enclosure

“Panguni Thingal” is an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar. It literally means “Mondays in March”, and celebrated on Mondays, which fall during the middle of March through the middle of April, and ending just before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Devotees come as far as from Valvettiththurai, Pointpedro and Chaavakachcheri to pay homage to Goddess temple, to worship, fulfill their vows and seek her blessings.

Among a handful of Goddess temples in Jaffna, “Panguni Thingal” is still celebrated with devotion. On “Panguni Thingal” days women throng the “Amman” temples, pray, prepare sweet rice along with “mothagam” or sweet dumplings, and “vadai” popular spicy doughnut.

These specialties are offered to the Goddess, and then shared with families, friends and neighbours.

Sweet rice being prepared

Monumental tower of Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal

These Tamil women have lost everything due to war and displacement

Popular saying in Tamil by Sangam period poetess Avvaiyaar ~ “Koyil Illa Ooril Kudiyirukka Vendaam” meaning “don;t live in a place where there is no temple”

Fine touch to prepare “mothagam”, sweet dumpling

“We lost and suffered during the war. We pray to the Goddess to get our houses and lands back from the military without further delay” ~ displaced women from Palaly and Mylitty in Jaffna District

“Vadai”, spicy doughnut being fried

Devotees preparing the specialties for the festival

Vibrant view from a distance

Prepare with Prayers

Steamed “mothagam” or sweet dumplings

Series of sculptures at Sanctum

Taking the specialties home to share

Colourful and captivating view

Courtesy: PassionParade ~

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Amman Devotional Song Rendered by Bangalore Ramani Ammal