Thiruketheeswaram Kovil

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Suthananth Ketheeswaranathan - Hinduism Today

A legendary ancient Hindu temple supposedly built almost 2500 years back. Thiruketheeswaram Kovil, or Ketheeswaram temple, is dedicated to God Shiva, and is best known as one of the Pancha Ishwaram (five historical kovils dedicated to Lord Shiva). It is located in close proximity to the holy waters of Palavi Tank.

There are several various legends claiming the origin of the kovil. According to folklore, it is where Kethu Bhagavan worshipped Lord Shiva, or Eshwara, and hence the name Thiruketheeswaram was originated.

Some believe that the temple is directly linked to the Ramayana Trails. It is stated in the Indian epic, Ramayana, that the Hindu temple was built in devotion to God Shiva by King Mayan, the king of Manthai and the father of King Rama’s wife, Madodari.

In another context, some claim that the kovil was subsequently constructed by South Indian merchants while sailing in and out of the ancient port, Manthota, now a buried city.

In 1575, when the country was invaded by the Portuguese, countless religious sites were destroyed, including the Thiruketheeswaram Kovil. The stones of the kovil were used by the Portuguese colonialists to build the Mannar Fort.

The kovil was restored by local Tamils almost 4 centuries later in the early 20th century, and is now a prominent pilgrimage site venerated by many Hindu devotees around the country.

When visiting Thiruketheeswaram Kovil, you are required to follow religious customs by wearing decent, acceptable clothing.

The temple can be visited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The pooja timings are at 8 a.m, 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. everyday. During February to March, hundreds of devotees visit the temple for the annual Maha Shivaratri celebrations.