Ketheeswaram sanctuary (Tamil: திருக்கேதீஸ்வரம் Tirukkētīsvaram) is an old Hindu sanctuary in Mannar, Northern Region Sri Lanka. Ignoring the antiquated period Tamil port towns of Manthai and Kudiramalai, the sanctuary has lay in ruins, been reestablished, revamped and developed by different royals and fans since its commencement. Tirukkētīsvaram is one of the Pancha Ishwarams devoted to the Hindu divinity Shiva and is worshiped by Shaivas all through the landmass. Since its commencement, the sanctuary has been managed and frequented by Sri Lankan Hindu Tamils. Its well known tank, the Palavi tank, is of antiquated vestige and was reestablished from the remains. Tirukkētīsvaram is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams of Shiva celebrated in the sonnets of the Tevaram.
Artistic and inscriptional proof of the post old style period (300BC-1500AD) confirms the upkeep of the sanctuary during the old time frame by lords of the Pallava, Pandyan Administration and Chola traditions who added to its improvement up to the late sixteenth century. In 1575, Tirukkētīsvaram was to a great extent annihilated by Portuguese colonials, with Pujas ending at the altar in 1589. Following an intrigue by Arumuka Navalar in 1872, the sanctuary was remade at its unique site in 1903.


The specific date of the Ketheeswaram sanctuary’s introduction to the world isn’t all around settled upon. As indicated by Dr. Paul E. Peiris, an intelligent researcher and antiquarian, Thirukketisvaram was one of the five perceived Eeswarams of Siva in Lanka extremely some time before the appearance of Vijaya in 600 B.C. The place of worship is known to have existed for at any rate 2400 years, with persuasive and abstract proof of the postclassical period ( 600BC – 1500AD) bearing witness to the sanctuary’s old style relic. The covered old Tamil exchanging port of Manthottam (Mantotai/Manthai) in the Mannar Locale — where Ketheeswaram is found — has given students of history surviving survives from the way of life of the zone during the old time frame. This incorporates the remnants of its old sanctuary tank (the Palavi tank), and the vestiges of a previous Hindu city worked of block, depicted by J.W. Bennet in 1843. During the old time frame, Mathoddam was a focal point of worldwide exchange, with Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Middle Easterners, Ethiopians, Persians, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese and others competing with one another to corner the exchange of North Ceylon with Tamil dealers. Mathoddam is as of now saw as the main port on the island that could be known as a “covered city,” with a significant part of the antiquated destroys under sand today. The presence of the Thiru-Ketheeswaram sanctuary bears witness to the vestige of the port. Mathoddam discovers notice as “probably the best port” on the seaboard between the island and Tamilakkam in the Tamil Sangam writing of the traditional period (600 BCE – 300 CE). Hugh Nevill wrote in 1887 of the distinguished city of Mathoddam “An eminent place of worship developed into notoriety there devoted to one Incomparable God represented by a solitary stone, and in later occasions reestablished by a Saivaite in the wake of lying long in ruins. The sanctuary was devoted as “Tiru-Kethes-Waram.”
One of the five old Iswarams of Master Shiva on the island, Ketheeswaram joins Koneswaram (Trincomalee), Naguleswaram (Keerimalai), Tenavaram (Tevan Thurai) and Munneswaram (Puttalam) as an eminent and profoundly frequented journey site from before 600 BCE. In the sixth ninth century CE, the sanctuary was celebrated in the Tevaram ordinance, getting one of 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, the holiest Shiva sanctuaries on the continent. The main other Paadal Petra Sthalam from Eela Nādu (the nation of the sanctuary as named in the Tamil writing) is Koneswaram.


Worked by Karaiyar

Thiruketheeswaram’s underlying portion is credited to the indigenous individuals of the Manthai port, the Karaiyar Naga clan. The Karaiyar professed to be identified with a few traditional period open figures hailing from the worldwide port town, including the maker of the most established surviving Tamil writing by an Eelam Tamilian, the Sangam writer Eelattu Poothanthevanar.

Sixth seventh century psalm

Ketisvaram sanctuary and the waters of the Palavi tank close by are proclaimed in the Saiva work Tevaram in the sixth century CE by Sambandar. Alongside Koneswaram sanctuary on Master Rock, Trincomalee, Ketisvaram sanctuary and its god are adulated in a similar writing standard by the eighth century CE Nayanmar, Sundarar, in the Sangam time frame. Tirukketisvaram from this time forward is celebrated as one of 275 Shiva Sthalams of the mainland, some portion of the Paadal Petra Sthalam gathering. The main other sthalam from Eelam is Koneswaram. There is epigraphic proof of upkeep of the sanctuary by the Pallava and Pandyan lines.

Tenth century

A few Chola engravings from its medieval floruit allude to Ketisvaram and two Sinhala engravings of the tenth century allude to the forbiddance on butchering dairy animals at the town.

Twelfth century

Dathavamsa, (twelfth century) talks about a Hindu sanctuary at Mantotai in the rule of Lord Meghavannan (301–328).

Sixteenth century decimation by the Portuguese

After 1505 A.C.E alongside incalculable Buddhist and Hindu sanctuaries around the island, it was crushed by Portuguese Catholic colonialists. The history specialist Do Couto relates that the assailants experienced no opposition from travelers or clerics while the sanctuary was wrecked. In 1589 C.E. the sanctuary stones were utilized by them to manufacture the Mannar Fortress, a Catholic church and the Hammershield Stronghold at Kayts.

Nineteenth/twentieth century remaking

The first site of the Sanctuary was followed in 1894. The Shiva lingam of the old place of worship along with a few different finds were additionally uncovered in 1894. After a hole of right around 400 years in 1910s neighborhood Tamils, under the encouraging of Hindu reformer Arumuka Navalar, met up and fabricated the current sanctuary. With the reclamation of the antiquated and blessed Palavi Teertham or lake in 1949, a significant exertion was made to improve the sanctuary environs. It was in October 1948 that a serious fomentation brought about the development of the Thiruketheeswaram Sanctuary Reclamation Society, which redesigned the sanctuary and performed Kumbhabishekam in August 1952. The Thiruketheeswaram Sanctuary Reclamation Society did promote redesign of the sanctuary and another Kumbhabhishekam was hung on July 4, 1976.
As a feature of the common war that has tormented the nation since the Dark July slaughter of 1983 at present the sanctuary is involved by the Sri Lankan Armed force. While rock work arrangements were in progress the military assumed control over the Sanctuary and its environs in August 1990 and kept on involving the site for quite a long while. In spite of the fact that they have left the Sanctuary premises their control of its environs is a reason for worry to the Rebuilding Society which has been encouraging the Legislature to expel the Military totally from the environs of the Sanctuary and pronounce the site a consecrated region.


Legendary stories identified with the Indian epic Ramayana relate that Mandothari, the spouse of Ruler Ravana was from Manthai and that Mayan, the dad of Mandothari and the Lord of Manthai assembled the old Sanctuary of Thiruketheeswaram to venerate Shiva. As per one Hindu legend, Maharishi Bhrigu revered Shiva at this place of worship. Another convention holds that the Hindu planetary god Ketu adored Shiva at the hallowed place, hence making the holy place’s name “Ketheeswaram”. Another legend is found in the Skanda Purana, an antiquated work in Sanskrit, the artifact of which is obscure. It comprises of 2500 sections assembled into 27 Parts and had been passed on as per the customary custom as oral talks by the Master to his supporters for this situation by Sootha Munivar to the Naimisaraniya Munivars. Three Sections of the Skanda Purana which have been given the title Dhakshana Kailasa Manmiam manage chronicled occasions in old Ceylon. The primary section describes about the Puranas as a rule and the quality that was of antiquated Ceylon; the subsequent part relates about the praised spots of strict significance in Ceylon and the account of “Thiruketheeswaram”. In this section is portrayed the occurrence of how, at one time quite a while in the past, the Divine force of Wind (Vayu) removed the three towers of the incredible mountain Maha Meru so as to keep off Athichedan — who battled against him, impeding the extraordinary mountain with a great many decorated culminations looking like snakes’ heads — and kept one of these towers at Thiruketheeswaram. The Ruler set up Himself there, at Thiruketheeswaram. As indicated by the Manmiam, Thiruketheeswaram alongside Koneswaram are two of the nine most holy sthalams of the Hindus. The other seven are in India.