Special Evening of Music With the Kaffirs

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

A Special Evening of Music With the Kaffirs was held at the Barefoot cafe on November 2nd 2008. The event was organised by Internews.

There were 300 music and dance lovers who had the rare opportunity of experiencing African music and dance in Colombo. Audience at Barefoot cafe enjoyed the show for nearly two hours with the beats of drums and a variety of melodies. It was a unique occasion to witness the Kaffir community members beautifully performing at Barefoot Cafe.

Things that unites as a people are more powerful and enduring than anything that sets us apart

Holiday greetings video from the Obamas ~ last year, in December 2007

‘Raking Leaves’ book launch in pictures

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Raking Leaves is an independent publisher of contemporary artists’ book projects. Two book projects mark the launch of Raking Leaves in Colombo recently at the Barefoot Gallery. The book launch marks the debut of Raking Leaves in Sri Lanka.

Two books were launched at the Barefoot Gallery:

Sharmini Pereira, Director, Founder and Curator of Raking Leaves, an independent publisher of contemporary artists’ book projects listens while Nazreen Sansoni, Director and Curator of the Barefoot Gallery inaugurates the book launch at the Barefoot Gallery


Pearls is a photographic journal of Simryn Gill. She creates books into necklace. She started her bead making project in 1999. There are 60 sets of beads in the book “Pearls”. The book is 250*205mm, 204pp. It contains 245 illustrations with soft cover with book jacket. Designed by Herman Lelie and Stefania Bonelli.

One Year Drawing Project:

May 2005-October 2007. This book contains drawings by Muhanned Cader, Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan, Chandraguptha Thenuwara and Jagath Weerasinghe. There are 52 sketches these four artists. The book is 275*195mm, 416 pp. 208 colour illustrations soft cover with French fold. Designed by Valie Walkley.

Beautifully bound one year drawing project : May 2005-October 2007

Sharmini Pereira, Director, Founder and Curator of Raking Leaves, an independent publisher of contemporary artists’ book projects explains about the “one year drawing project”

Muhanned Cader autographs a copy for Sharmini Boyle

Oil lamps at the event ~ flickering the divine influence of art

Some of the sketches are shown as slide show

Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan autographs a copy at the launch

Art lovers are seen buying the book

An oil lamp is lit in front of Pillaiyar idol at the Barefoot Gallery

Chandraguptha Thenuwara autographs a copy of the book, while Nazreen Sansoni looks on

Mirak Raheem and Sharmini Pereira at the book launch

Invitees at the Barefoot Gallery

Jagath Weerasinghe signs a copy of the “One Year Drawing Project:May2005-October2007”

Statue of Nadarajar is decorated with an oil lamp at the main entrance of the Barefoot Gallery

Sharmini Pereira established a non-profit organisation in 2005 based in London named “Raking Leaves”. Sharmini Pereira has shone through her innovative ideas, which are put together as a novel piece of art

Jagath Weerasinghe, Qadri Ismail and Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan at the Barefoot Gallery during the book launch

“One Year Drawing Project:May 2005-October 2007” is an experimental publishing project

Bhavani Fonseka, Mirak Raheem and Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan at the Barefoot Gallery

Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan, Sharmini Pereira and Chandraguptha Thenuwara are seen at the Barefoot Gallery

The collaborative drawings by the four artists tell a fascinating story

Chandraguptha Thenuawara and Anoli Perera at the book launch

Nazreen Sansoni and Thamotharmpillai Shanaathanan at Barefoot Gallery

Each artist restricted himself to drawing on A4 sized sheets

Ahilan, Nazreen Sansoni, Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan and Chandraguptha Thenuwara at the launch of “One Year Drawing project: May2007-October 2007”

Sharmini Pereira believs that the new medium has the potential to change the way we see art

Source: HumanityAshore.org

Glorious Daybreak

“A, as its first of letters, every speech maintains;
The “Primal Deity” is first through all the world’s domains” – Kural # 1: Thirukkural By Thiruvalluvar ~ translated by Rev. G.U. Pope

on Chilaw-Kurunegala Road, near the Munneswaram Sivan temple in Chilaw

Pictures By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

in Chilaw, North Western Province, Sri Lanka

Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi~Instrumental by Kadri Gopalnath~Saxophone, Pravin Godkhindi~Flute

Munneswaram Temple: Harmony in Devotion

By Udappur Veerasokkan
Correspondent for Virakesari, Udappu Sri Lanka

This article marks the Annual Theerthotsavam-Water Cutting Ceremony at Munneswaram on Sep 15, 2008

Munneswaram is the foremost and famous Hindu Temple in Southern Sri Lanka. It has all the three key glories of a Hindu holy place-Moorthi (Idol), Theertham (Holy water point) and Thalam (temple).

Located in the town Chilaw in North West Province, Munneswaram is attended by devotees of Sinhalese and Tamil communities to worship and guidanceship.

The temple is a symbol of unity and glows with harmony in devotion among Sinhalese and Tamils-two of the major ethnicities in Sri Lanka.


[Lord Ganesh at the Main entrance of Munneswaram-Pic by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai]

Ancient Temple

Munneswaram is one of the five ancient ‘Eswarams’, (Temple for lord Siva) in Sri Lanka.

Munneswaram Temple, stands to attest Tamil peoples’ inhabitance, heritage, traditions and the beginnings of the rapid growth of Hindu religious practices in North West Sri Lanka.

Legends exemplify the benevolence and compassion of the temple.

Worshipping by lord Ram, King Vijaya and contributions by great Chozha King Kullakottan in the development of the temple are all told in scriptures and folklore of yore, invoking charm and enchantment to the ancient temple.

Munneswaram temple is a grand testament to having people of Hindu faith living in this area at the time of docking by King Vijaya and his corps in ‘Thambanni’ in 554 AD.

The village of Munneswaram gains its greater acclaim due to the temple Munneswaram. The village bearing the name ‘Munneswaram’ and also ‘Muneeswaram’ has historically called the location of the temple ‘swaram’ according to research studies. This name may have the origins from ‘Munnai Natha Peruman’, (The foremost deity) the main deity of the temple. Findings from research also say Munneswaram may have had its origins prior-(Munne in Tamil) than rest of the other four ancient Siva temples in Sri Lanka.

[Munnai Natha Peruman – Picture By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai – more pics]

Worshiped by Lord Ram, Sinhala and Chozha Kings

Lord Ram was afflicted with ‘Brahma haththi thosham’ (an abhorrent due to a prior evil deed) after the ‘samharam’ (destruction) of King Ravana. It is said during the journey leaving from Lanka, Lord Ram travelled through Munneswaram and was relieved of the said ‘thosham’.

Realizing this, Lord Ram consecrated a Lingam in the vicinity-‘Sivalinga Peruman’ (Lingam-a symbol for the worship of Lord Siva) and offered prayers and poojas, according to ‘Dakshina Kailaya Manmiyam’, an ancient Hindu scripture.

This is why the main deity in Munneswaram happens to be a Lingam.

The 9th King Parakramabahu, known as ‘Pundit of the age of vice’ (Kaliyuga sakgna panndithan) donated few villages to the Munneswaram temple.

The walls of the Katpagraha (main shrine) monuments the endowment of several villages to the temple by the 6th King Parakramabahu.

The beneficent of King Kula Kottan to Munneswaram vividly portrays the greatness in charity. The King brought temple workers from the Chozha country for spiritual duties at the temple and housed them in the vicinity of the temple. Due to this, daily ‘naimithiya kiriyas’ (spiritual activities) of the temple were carried out without any shortcomings. Also, ‘Munneswara Manmiyam,’ holy scripture of Munneswaram says King Kula Kottan granted 4 of his villages to the Munneswaram temple.

Hearing the greatness of this temple, King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghan performed a consecration ceremony in 1753. This was a stepping stone on the growth of this temple.

‘Karna parambai kathai’–Folklore

A fisherman from the area of Munneswaram on his way to the sea to fish saw a little boy playing with a piety looking little girl. While watching, they suddenly disappeared.

Surprised at this, the fisherman hid behind a bush and wanted to go near the children when they appear to play.

When he got closer as soon as they appeared, the boy vanished and the piously looking little girl became a gold coloured statue, further astounding the fisherman.

Hearing this, the king of Lanka made imitations of the same statue and ordered the fisherman to identify among them the one he first saw becoming a statue. The puzzled fisherman returned home saying he will do so the next morning.

Goddess Amman appeared in the fisherman’s dream and said, ‘the statue you want to identify is the one that will move the right foot slightly’. The fisherman did so, and told the king about his dream.

Enchantment with him now, the King of Lanka went to the Munneswaram temple and offered prayers, pomp and pageant.


[Pillaiyar idols are displayed on the wall at the main entrance of Munneswaram temple, Chilaw, North of Colombo, Sri Lanka: More Pictures at: www.sweetgrace.org]

Annual Festival

The Muneeswaram temple, possessing artful architecture today, held the Annual flag hoisting ceremony on the 19th of August this year. Daily festivities are being held for another 28 days.

September 10th, is fire walking festival day.

Munneswaram temple is the only Sivan temple in Sri Lanka with a tradition of holding a special festival for the 63 ‘Nayanmars’; Nayanmars were Saivite devotional poets of Tamil Nadu, active between the fifth and the tenth centuries CE.

September 11th is festival for ‘Pichardanar’. Lord Siva as Pitchardanar destroying the pride and ignorance of ‘munivars’ (Hermits) is celebrated this day. Prayers and poojas are held this day for the 5 feet tall ‘Pitchadanar’.

September 12th, celebrates Lord Natarajar. It is said the statue of Lord Natarajar was found in an inner route well of the temple. The pageant of Lord Natarajar this day is a pleasant sight. 13th is Animal Pilgrimage. 14th is chariot festival, five of them in procession with the festive deities.

September 15th is ‘Theerthotsavam’, annual water cutting ceremony at ‘Mayan’ Aru (Deduru oya).

Temple destruction

The rapid growth of Hinduism in Sri Lanka during the 16th century, hit a markedly low point after the arrival of Portuguese in the island. Hindu temples around the country were destructed during this period. It is notable that Munneswaram was leveled too, in 1517.

One golden day

[Sunset over a paddy field in Chilaw-HA]

As war rages in parts of the country now and civilians perishing tragically, lets pray and worship the deity at Munneswaram Temple, ‘Munnai Natha Peruman’, for peace and prosperity for all ethnicities of the country.

[This article first appeared in the Virakesari Print Edition on Aug 31, 2008: Translated by K. Thirukumaran]