Munnesweram, a hive of activity this August
Festival commences on August 4 :
Shri Munnesweram temple situated two miles off Chilaw will be a hive
of activity with the month-long Hindu festival, commencing with the
flag-hoisting ceremony on August 4.
The festival interspersed with religious ceremonies, processions and
Kavadi dancing marking the Hindu ceremonies at Shri Munnesweram Ishwara
Maha Devale, Chilaw, will draw to a close with the Great Chariot
carrying the sacred deities on August 30, followed by the water- cutting
ceremony at Deduru Oya on August 31.
The other festivals taking place are: fire- walking on August 26,
Bhikshadana ceremony on August 27, Nadesar ceremony on August 28 and
Amba Vidina ceremony on August 29.
The temple is dedicated to the main deity in Saivism, namely Lord
Siva and is one of the five ancient Siva temples in the island.
With peace prevailing in the country, unprecedented crowds will
converge at the Sacred Shrine to participate in the festivities and it
would greatly benefit vendors to sell their wares. A merry-go-round and
other types of entertainment away from the temple will regale the
visitors who throng the place to buy goods, which is an annual
Police posts will be opened at the main temple dedicated to god Siva
and at the Bhadrakali temple to enable the smooth flow of traffic.
There will be a water bowser in the temple premises and the newly
acquired fire brigade to assist in an emergency.
The Police will ensure protection day and night to prevent harassment
of devotees. The Police post will also assist the temple authorities in
their day-to-day ceremonies.
The festival draws not only devotees from all parts of the country
but also tourists and devotees from India.
Due to the nature of the location of the temple on the main Chilaw-
Kurunegala road without any by-roads for diversion and due to the
limited space available for parking, the responsibilities of the Army
and the Police regarding traffic has become complex. The Police will
reinforce its surveillance squads by increasing the number of personnel
during the last few days of the festival.
Steps will be taken by the health authorities to maintain sanitation
in the sacred area and to control the spread of an outbreak of
communicable diseases by cleaning the compounds in the area. The
devotees are expected to visit the Shri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil near the
main temple. They will seek to fulfill their vows at this temple as
goddess Kali is believed to chastise wrong-doers.
On the final day of the festival, the Great Chariot gaily decorated
and drawn by two white bulls will wend its way to Deduru Oya for the
water cutting ceremony and on its return, will stop in the heart of
Chilaw in front of the Chilaw Urban Council for about one hour where
Kavadi dancing, beating of drums and sounding of trumpets will take
place before reaching the promenade of the Chilaw beach front where
Hindu festivities continue until midnight, watched by the crowds before
returning to the temple proper at Munnesweram along a decorated route in
town, accompanied by traditional Hindu Nadeswaram music.
The procession will pass the Ayyanar or Ayyanayake temple at
Munnesweram dedicated to a presiding deity over forests, fields and
irrigation reservoirs and the Munnesweram hamlet will go back to
hibernation in anticipation to wake up the succeeding year.