Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil lies about 1.5km from the Jaffna town on the Kankesanturai Road. This is an important temple in the Jaffna Peninsula and the most well-known. The history of the temple dates back to the time of King Parakramabahu VI (1411-1463) of Kotte Kingdom. King Parakramabahu VI had two adopted sons, Sapumal Kumaraya (prince) and Ambulugala Kumaraya (prince). The king sent prince Sapumal to the north where the South Indian Vijayanagara Empire was trying to attach Jaffna. The prince successfully drove away the invaders killing the king Arya Chakrawarthi, and brought his wife and children to Kotte. King Parakramabahu VI appointed the Prince Sapumal as the regional ruler of Jaffna. It was this prince who built the Nallur Kovil for the Hindu people of Jaffna. Prince Sapumal later had to leave Jaffna to take over the Kingship of the whole Island at Kotte. He was consecrated as King Buwanekabahu VI of Kotte. The Portuguese who captured Jaffna in 1560 demolished the Temple in 1621 leaving no traces of it. The temple then stood at Sankili Thoppu on the eastern side of the Point Pedro Road Jaffna again fell to Dutch in 1658. They were more tolerant on religious freedom and the temple was allowed to be rebuilt in the current location in 1734 by Don Juan Mappana Mudliyar whose descendants had taken the task of restoring the temple to its present splendour. The religious ceremonies are conducted with perfect time management and strict discipline. The Administration of the Temple should be commended for punctuality in conducting Poojas and religious ceremonies. Poojas are held daily six times a day with clock like precision. The first Poojas start at 5 a.m. and the last one at 5 p.m. without any delay any time in any Pooja. Lord Murugan’s special Poojas are conducted on Fridays and auspicious days of the month.
Text by Neil Kiriella