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Arulmigu Sri Muthumari Amman Hindu Kovil
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Author:  Rohan2 [ Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:18 am ]
Post subject:  Arulmigu Sri Muthumari Amman Hindu Kovil

Annual ‘Ther’ festival of Arulmigu Sri Muthumari Amman Kovil, Matale:
A kovil of religious harmony

Richard BASNAYAKE
@ CDN / 28Feb2007


Arulmigu Sri Muthumari Amman Hindu Kovil, situated in the historic town of Matale is a very religious Hindu shrine in Sri Lanka.

About 200 years ago this kovil was established by the Indian Hindu community specially the South Indian traders who lived and did business in the town and in estates around Matale.

The history of this kovil records that one day a cute little child was seen on this premises and on the next

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Newly built ‘Raja Koburum’. It is 108 feet tall and has 1008 statues of Hindu deities and is one of the tallest Koburums in Sri Lanka.

morning the beautiful dress this child had worn was found in this premises.

On the same day at night Goddess Pattini, had appeared in a dream of an old pious person named Nallamuttu and Goddess Pattini had told Nallamuttu, the cute little child who was seen at the premises was Goddess Pattini and requested Nallamuttu to make this premises a holy place for Hindus.

Since then this place had become a Hindu kovil, not only to Hindus but also to Buddhists as well.

Usually in the month of February, the annual Ther festival is held to evoke the blessings of Gods, very specially Goddess Pattini.

This year the festival started with the Kap planting ceremony on February 7. Special ‘poojas’ will continue till March 4. The early morning ‘poojas’ start at dawn with the hoisting of the flag. These morning ‘poojas’ go on till about noon everyday.

The evening ‘poojas’ start at six and continue till midnight. Thousands of Hindu and Buddhist devotees flock to this kovil to offer ‘poojas’ very specially the new born babies are brought to get the blessings of gods.

The ‘Ther’ or the chariot ceremony will be held on March 2, the day before ‘Medin Full Moon’ Poya day.

The statues of Lord Murugan, Shri Ganeshan, Sivan Ambal, Shandeshwarer and Goddess Pattini are kept in beautifully illuminated carts, decorated with banana trees, ‘thembili’, coconuts and various kinds of fruits, will be drawn by Hindu and Buddhist devotees along the streets of Matale town during the day time.

The sick and the feeble, who cannot attend the ‘poojas’ in the kovil are believed to be visited by Goddess Pattini at their door-steps.

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It is recorded that at the beginning of the religious ceremony, the images of Gods and Goddess Pattini were taken around the kovil premises, on the shoulders of the devotees.

But later, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians collected funds to build only one chariot to take Goddess Pattini around the streets of the town. Later three more chariots were added and now there are five chariots.

During this holy month devotees from all parts of Sri Lanka and South India irrespective of race and religion flock to this holy place to offer ‘poojas’ and get the blessings of Gods.

The Hindus decorate their houses and shops with traditional Hindu decorations using banana and arecanut plants ‘gokkola’ and mango leaves. The Buddhists too illuminate their shops and dwellings.

The President of the Kovil Management Board T. Marimuttu Chettiyar, said that to conduct these religious rituals of this festival, very religious and highly educated religious dignitaries have been appointed and all these activities are performed according to the age-old customs of the Hindu traditions.

Moving the five Ther from the kovil premises to parade along the streets and coming back to the kovil, are regarded as highly religious and very sacred ritualistic performances.

The president, further added that this year there is a very special attraction. The newly built Raja Koburum is 108 feet tall and has 1008 statues of Hindu deities.

The famous South Indian sculptor, Nagalingam and his son Ramanathan with the help of about 100 designers, painters and skilled architects from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka laboured hard for seven long years to complete it and had spent about 150 million rupees.

This ‘Raja Koburum’ is one of the tallest of its kind in Sri Lanka. These ‘Koburums’ are built at the entrances to Hindu shrines in Tamil Nadu.

The kovil authorities have made elaborate arrangements to supply food and refreshments free to those who visit the kovil, prepared in the kovil premises. The president said that about half a million people will join the chariot ceremony on March 2.

The Board of Management wish to thank all those who contributed generously to build the new ‘Raja Koburum’ and requests the public of Matale town to decorate their shops and houses with traditional decorations and illuminate their premises as this shows the symbol of unity and brotherhood among Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians.

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