Munnesweram temple festival: A call to the faithful
Hindu religious festivities commenced at Shri Munnesweram Ishwara Maha Devale, Chilaw with the hoisting of the flag on August 19, and the annual Nikini Maha Chariot festival carrying the sacred deities will be held with great pomp and pageantry on Sunday, September 14, followed by the Water cutting ceremony at Deduru Oya, Chilaw on September 15, 12.00 noon.
The other festivals take place on the following dates:
Maha Vishnu Perahera: September 9, at 6.00 p.m.
Fire walking ceremony: September 10, at 5.30 p.m.
Bhikshadana Perahera: September 11, at 6.00 p.m.
Nadesar Perahera: September 12, at 6.00 p.m.
Amba Vidina Perahera: September 13, at 6.00 p.m.
Water cutting Perahera: September 15 at 12 noon
Mangala ceremony: September 17, at 7.00 p.m.
A Police Post was opened at Munnesweram to enforce law and order at the temple premises. The officers at the post will supervise the smooth flow of traffic and stop vehicles at the time of processions and maintain orderly parking of vehicles.
The officers will also ensure adequate police protection by day and night to prevent any form of harassment to devotees flocking to the temple to pay obeisance to the deities and perform their acts of penitence to purify their iniquities and when taking part in the processions.
Some penitents are seen lying prostrate or walking about with their flesh pierced with spikes and darts or ashes sprinkled on their foreheads to atone for their failings and omissions.
The traditional ‘Kavadi’ dancing, the beating of drums and sounding of trumpets form part of the procession which continue unabated in the atmosphere of the festivities akin to Hindu customs and ceremonies. The devotees keep vigil at the precincts of the temple engrossed in prayer and meditation with remorse for their past sins.
They also take time to visit the Shri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil which is just a stone’s throw away from the main temple to seek favours.
They also fulfil their vows at this temple as the goddess Kali is believed to punish wrong-doers and lost articles are found through her intercession. She is known to show speedy results and their prayers are answered instantly.
With peace and normality prevailing in many parts of the island, it is predicted that thousands of devotees from all corners of the country will converge at this Shrine to participate in the festivities.
Therefore, unlike other previous years, vast crowds are expected and a gala setting will prevail in Chilaw. Vendors and hawkers have a good time selling their goods.
A Merry-go-round and other types of entertainment sited away from the temple will regale the visitors who throng the place to buy merchandise which is an annual enterprise and what is distinctive is that Chilaw Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims visit Munnesweram to see the festivities.
The Great Chariot wends its way to Deduru Oya for the Water cutting ceremony and on its return, stops 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 take place before reaching the promenade of the Chilaw beach where Hindu festivities continue till late midnight watched by the crowds before returning to the temple proper at Munnesweram about two miles away from Chilaw.
So, the delightful and idyllic season of festivities comes to an end and the Munnesweram hamlet goes to hibernating and once again returns to its customary slumber to wake up in anticipation of the succeeding year.