MUNNESWARAM KOWIL – Chilaw
The Munneswaram temple, illness dedicated to Lord Ishwara, is reminiscent of other celebrated and renowned temples like Koneswaram and Thiruketheeswaram, in which, three Sivalingams are enshrined.
Munneswaram has preserved its sylvan charm and enchantment, with the scenic surroundings _ with vast acres of paddy _ and hemmed in by tanks, which irrigate all farming and cultivation there.
Looking back to the festival legend of this glorious Hindu shrine, Munneswaram is regarded as one of the oldest Hindu temples in the island. And it has a strange origin; and according to legend, Rama, after slaying Ravana, was returning to India with Sita in his “Air chariot,’ when, impulsively, a desperate feeling of guilt gripped him.
Lord Siva, according to legend, had pointed to a place north of the Mayavan Aru (Mee Oya), and told him to enshrine the relic. And Rama built the temple at the exact spot, which is now known as Munneswaram. The festival, too, is obscured in antiquity, and according to legend, one full-moon night, in the month of Nikini, a sage who was meditating under a banyan tree looked up and saw the goddess Amman , the mother of Skanda, who granted him his wishes.
He asked her to bless all the pilgrims assembled there for worship, and ever afterwards, that August night, a great festival was held in memory of the meeting of Agastiar, the sage and Amman , and is continued to the present day.
All amenities are provided for the satisfaction of pilgrims. At the conclusion of the festival, the hamlet of Munneswaram reposes once again to tranquillity and dormancy.