Verugal Murugan temple festival draws crowd

The Verugal temple grounds during the annual festival
Devotees bathing in Verugal Gangai
Verugal temple "veethi" gaily decorated

The 18-day annual festival (mahotsavam) of the several centuries old historic Verugal Śrī Cittira Velayudha Swami Temple, which is located on the border of Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts in the Eastern Province, comes to a conclusion with the water cutting ceremony (Theertha Tiruvizah) on Tuesday, sources said.

The temple is known as "Sinna Kathirgamam" for Hindus in the country.

The longest river in the island, Mahaweli Gangai, flows into Indian ocean in Trincomalee dividing into two, on the west side of the Cittira Velayudha Swami Temple by the name Verugal Gangai and in the south side by the name of Kurukkal Gangai, close to Agathiyar Thapanam where according Hindu chronicles, Saint Agathiyar had founded the first Siddha medical university several centuries ago.

The ruins of Agathiyar Thapanam are still seen in the area along the bank of Kurukkal Gangai, sources said.

Verugal village is in the LTTE controlled area and is located 48 km along the coastal route from Trincomalee town to Batticaloa and Verugal Gangai divides the two districts at Verugal, sources said.

From Trincomalee town people can reach the Verugal village first by sea to Muttur and the road from there to Verugal and also by road from Trincomalee via Kantalai and Batticaloa highway, sources said.

The annual festival of the Verugal Cittira Velayudha Swami Temple began on August 28. Hindus of Sampur, Pattithidal, Manatsenai, Pallikudiruppu, Palathadichchenai, Koonitheivu Muttur, Killiveddy, Kanguveli, Mallikaitheivu, Eachilampathu, Kathiraveli, Kattaiparichchan and Valaichchenai villages conducted daily 'Tiruvizah' till Monday, sources said.

Fire walking ceremony is to be held Tuesday and thereafter Lord Murugan will be taken to Verugal Gangai to take a holy dip, sources said. Port authority employees in Trincomalee have organized "annadanam " after the water cutting festival, sources said.

Special bus services have been organized from Kalmunai, Vakarai, Batticaloa, Kantalai, and Trincomalee depots of the New Eastern Bus Company to the Verugal temple. The Tamil Eelam Police Services provide security to devotees who participate in the water cutting ceremony, sources said.

Courtesy: TamilNet, September 15, 2003

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