Batticaloa in other words can be called as the “Land of the Creator and the Destroyer”, there are famous temples dedicated to “Lord Shiva” located throughout Batticaloa.
Yet another famous temple in the Batticaloa district, The "Thaanthoneswarar" temple of Kokkadicholai. Kokkadicholai is located at about 15 km from Batticaloa. This temple has its history rooted from the time of the British rule.
The temple has a “Lingam”, a symbol which idolizes Lord Shiva and it is believed that this aroused on its own from soil. Hence the name “Thaanthooneswarar” (which means “Lord came on his own”). A myth says this temple was constructed by the “Cholas” from India when they decided to expand their empire all the way up to Srilanka.
This temple has shown the existence of divineness in various ways. And, I’m going to write about one here.
This dates back in history when the British ruled Srilanka. British were against the worship of idols while this was one of the important aspects of Hinduism; Hindus visualized their creators and sculpted them into idols.
Once a British officer had visited the “Thaanthoneswarar” temple and noticed the priest of the temple worshipping the “Nandhi” statue (Nandhi, symbolizes the cow. It is believed to be the transporter or vehicle of Lord Shiva and is also given great respect by all Hindus). The British officer found this to be absurd and called out for the priest, mocking him for his act. That was when ,all of sudden, the sky turned dark, the wind started blowing fast and the Nandhi statue came into existence as a cow, the cow went around the temple and then laid its dung .The cow then froze back to its statue form along with the dung. The British officer was left speechless for his mockery. The same can be found till today in the very same temple. In the “Moolasthana” (sanctum-sanctorum), is the “Lingam” followed by the “Nandhi” along with the cow dung.
Though this temple is quiet far from the Batticaloa town, it is filled with devotees all the time, especially on Fridays.
Now a few words on the Hindu traditional practices,
Friday’s are generally considered very auspicious for Hindus. They either fast or visit temples on this day. According to the Hindu tradition it is a must for every Hindu to restrict the consumption of meat and alcohol when going to a temple. Females when menstruating are not allowed to worship, but this is a very old practice which was followed by the ancestors as those days there were no proper protection for women.
Men on the other hand are expected to enter the temple shirtless; it is a belief of Hindus that the hair found on the chest attracts good vibes. And also, one can raise his/her arms up and join them when the Pooja commences, it is believed that the axillary hair also attracts positive vibrations. Females on the other hand are expected to wear traditional attires like sari and churidar with gold jewelry (optional) for the same.
So, pay a visit and see the proof of Shiva’s miracle, it’s worth the experience.