Book on Hindu art and Architecture in Sri Lanka to be Launched on April 25

Book on R. Namasivayam and the restoration of Tirukketisvaram

By Maheen Senanayake

The Life and Times of R Namasivayam and his contribution of the restoration of Tirukketisvaram serves perhaps to fill an unforgettable chapter in the commitment to and retention of a Hindu tradition.

The book edited by Prof. S. Pathmanathan, Professor Emeritus, University of Peradeniya, and published by the Namasivayam family will be launched on April 25 at the Saraswathi Hall, Bambalapitiya at 5.30 pm.

The volume is a compilation of articles in both English and Tamil about late R. Namasivayam and his contribution to the restoration of the Tirukketisvaram temple.

Legend has it that the temple is located on a piece of land, a part of the thousand mountains that make the Himalayas, that had been blown to the shores of Lanka. Hindus believe that Shiva, the great God resides at Tirukketisvaram, the temple built on this piece of land.

Hindu lore states that in ancient Sri Lanka there were five sacred Hindu temples dedicated to Siva. They were Munnesvaram, Kataragama, Kailayanatar Kovil in Nallur, Tirukketisvaram in Mantota and Tirukkonesvaram in Trincomalee.

However, confirmations are not definitive. Historians claim Dathavamsa, (12 century) refers to a Hindu temple (devalaya) at Mantota in the reign of King Meghavanna Abhaya. Two Sinhala inscriptions of the 10 century refer to the prohibition on slaughtering cows at Mantota. These references to a Hindu temple at Mantota have been taken as references to Tirukketisvaram.

A Book By R. Namasivayam ~ Available via

During the conflict the temple fell into disrepair. Namasivayam has been at the forefront to initiate the restoration of the temple and has made many meaningful contributions towards bringing the temple back to its original glory.

This book details the life of Namasivayam from his humble beginnings in his village in Jaffna to his recognition as a prominent lawyer in Colombo and thereafter his pursuit of spirituality through the undertaking of restoration of the ancient temple of Tirukketisvaram.

Namasivayam was the son-in-law of K. Kanagaratnam, Deputy Minister of Education and Acting Auditor General (1949-1951).

Prof. Pathmanathan has carefully penned a detailed history of the temple including an understanding of the history and ideology of Hinduism and most importantly the story of Namasivayam’s contribution to the restoration of the great temple.

Moreover, this is a story and a ready reference for Hindu scholars particularly for those interested in Hindu art and architecture in Sri Lanka.

The Chief Guest on this occasion will be K. Kanag-Iswaran, President’s Counsel, who will speak on service to mankind through spirituality. – courtesy: The Island

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