Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil


Nallur Kandasamy Kovil is Jaffna’s premier place of Hindu worship. Nallur Kandasamy Kovil characterised by a golden arch and elaborate gopuram attracts hundreds of pilgrims and worshippers. The present building of the kovil goes back to the eighteenth century. The original temple said to go back to the times of the Tamil kings was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1620 and stood on the site presently occupied by St. James Church about a quarter mile from the present temple.

In the hot arid lands of Nallur, in Jaffna, rises the majestic Hindu temple for Skanda/ Murugan – the god of love, war and beauty. It has reigned over the land for centuries, attracting devotees from various walks of life. The temple itself embodies a kind of peace that can only be felt in the most divine of places.


The temple was originally founded in 948 AD. However, it reached fame when it was rebuilt in the 13th century by Puvaneka Vaahu, a minister of the Jaffna King Kalinga Maha. The Nallur Kandaswamy Temple was built for a third time by Senpaha Perumalwho was the adopted son of the Kotte king. Nallur served as the capital of the kings of Jaffna, and was a highly defensive fort and city. There were courtly buildings, the palaces, businesses and much more.

The third built temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1624 AD; and many churches built over the ruins. The location of the original temple is now covered by the St James Church, Nallur. Part of the original Sivalingam from the temple remained in the vicarage, but was destroyed during the recent civil war. Now only the platform where it was mounted remains.

The current temple was built in 1734 AD by Don Juan. However, the ‘Golden Era’ of the Nallur Temple began in the latter 1890s with the takeover of the temple administration by Arumuga Maapaana Mudaliyar; who started renovating it to bring it back to its earlier magnificence.