Pancha Ishwarams are five Hindu temples, which are built in coastal areas in the island of Sri Lanka. These temples are dedicated to Ishwara in the form of god Shiva. These temples are Naguleswaram Temple, Koneswaram Temple, Tondeswaram Temple, Munneswaram Temple and Ketheeswaram Temple.
The initial constructions of the temples were done by the royal architects of the Naga kingdom. The Shiva lingams that are found in each of the temples are believed to have been installed by Ravana.
The Pancha Ishwarams
Naguleswaram Temple, which is also known as “Keerimalai Naguleswara Tirutambaleswaram Kovil” is located near Kankasanthurai in Jaffna. Here you will find Nayanar-Pallava gateway, Jaffna brick buildings, Keerimalai Springs and a few stone idols.
Ketheeswaram Temple is located in the north west of Sri Lanka in the Mannar district. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams of Shiva which are mentioned in the poems of the Tevaram, Ramayana, Skanda Puranam and Dathavamsa.
Koneswaram Temple is located in Trincomalee and is one of the most prominent sites of worship in the region. It is regarded as the most popular one among the five Ishwarams. It used to be described as the “Rome of the Gentiles of the Orient”. The temple was destroyed by the Portuguese when they were ruling in that part of the island. The remnants of the temple were used to build Fort Frederick in Trincomalee. Koneswaram Temple was eventually rebuilt by the devotees.
Munneswaram Temple, which is located in Puttlam is dedicated to Shiva. It is said that Rama sought atonement from Shiva after he defeated King Ravana.
Tondeswaram Temple is located in Matara, in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The temple is mentioned in the royal inscriptions of Kotte, Anuradhapura, Raugama and Dambadeniya kings.
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