Vairavar Madai: An ancient ritual continues with a traditional touch in Jaffna

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Lord Vairavar is one of the most terrifying aspects of Lord Siva. And, Lord Vairavar is also considered a God who safeguards villages and his devotees. He is the fierce manifestation of Lord Siva associated with annihilation. He is a folk deity who safeguards the devotee on all eight directions.

Lord Vairavar himself has eight manifestations: Kala (black) Vairavar, Asitanga (with black limbs)Vairavar, Samhara (destruction)Vairavar, Ruru (hound) Vairavar, Krodha (anger)Vairavar, Kapala (Skull)Vairavar, Rudra (storm) Vairavar and Unmatta (raging) Vairavar.

He is one of the most important deities in Sri Lanka. Lord Vairavar means “Terrible” or “Frightful”. Vairavar worship is very popular in Jaffna district. Every few households share a Vairavar temple in their compound, and daily poojas are performed.

Vairavar Madai or Mass Pongal with special poojas takes place annually in these temples dedicated to Lord Vairavar. These temples either have the idol of Lord Vairavar or a trident. Friday is reserved for annual Vairavar Madai.

Konaavalai Vairavar temple, which is situated in Kokkuvil on Thirunelvely-Kokkuvil road is believed to be very powerful, and passers-by take a quick stop and worship. The annual Vairavar Madai or Mass Pongal of the Konaavalai Vairavar temple was held on July 2nd 2010 at dusk.

Ardent devotees from Kokkuvil have gathered on this day to take part in special poojas, make sweet rice and offer it to Lord Vairavar along with Vadai, Pal Rotty,Murukku and variety of fruits. The offerings were shared by the villagers.Animal sacrifice during the Vairavar Madai used to take place earlier at Konaavalai Vairavar temple, but it is not practiced now.

Lord Vairavar stands tall on the roof top

Brass pot is kept on burning fire outside the temple

The community pongal gets underway

Boiling over or spill over from the pot

Most people of Kokkuvil are ardent devotees of Konaavalai Vairavar

Pots are in a neat row

Vijayaratnam Vijayanesan from Kokkuvil puts rice in the boiling water

A scene outside the temple

Devotees are taking part in special poojas

Another view of the beautiful sculptures at the temple

Smoke covers the pots during a heavy wind

Sun sets its rays over the temple

The chief priest of the temple performs the rituals in the Vasantha Mandapam (ceremonial hall)

Trident outside the temple

A conch with the holy ash (Vipoothy) hangs at the main entrance of the temple

Traditional musicians at the temple for the festival

Dog is the divine vehicle of Lord Vairavar

Devotees thronged the temple for the festival

Colourful celebration for the guarding deity

Another offering by a devotee

A fast is observed for the whole day during the Madai

A view of the Jaffna Medical College

Konaavalai Vairavar temple is one of the oldest temples in Jaffna

Ganeshwary Mahadeva from Kantharoodau is seen offering the food to the God

Sanctum (Moolasthaanam) of the temple

“Paal Rotty” is offered to the God. “Paal Rotty” is a must offering in a Vairavar Madai

Sculptures at the Vasantha Mandapam

Dressed up Lord Vairavar for the festival

Devotees from the area gathered to fulfill their vows

Offerings to the God
____________________________________________ ~ Email:


  1. R.S.Ganeshan says:

    Dushi, thank you very much for the write up and the pics.I had never known that there was such temple by the name of Konaavalai Vairavar temple.

  2. Raj says:

    What a wonderfull pics and write up. This brings back memeories. Kondavil is one my favorite place b/c i have connection to this place. My great Patti( AAchi) is the Ammal Archi who was gone “Samathi” in the temple call “ammal Archi kolvil” infront of the Kondavil railway station. Please if you find anything about this kovil, please in your site.

  3. raj says:

    Since I left Sri Lanka 25 years ago, I have forgotten many things. Your article with picture reminded a lot. Though I have never been to this temple, my resident is near this temple. Thanks for your article.

  4. sweda says:

    nice to see the temple.I remember the temple just infront of medical faculty.
    even though my home town was point pedro.I often went to the temple, while I was living there.
    thank you

  5. PAlaniappan says:

    Very nice presentation. But this Kovil is still intact.