I bought this little ‘shrine?’ at the festival for about 50p. There were lots of different pictures and I thought they were cleverly made and original. I never saw them elsewhere in Sri Lanka.
Monday night and Tuesday morning I went to the festival at the local Hindu temple. The festival has actually been going on 11 days and it is loud music and chanting 24/7. They would never get away with it in England because of noise regulations. The issue is, they don’t all have their festivals at the same time, so once one temple finishes another starts so it’s pretty much none stop. Far more intrusive than the mosque calling to prayer.
It’s exotic stuff. I missed out on the men with hooks in their skin, but there is a lot of drumming, incense and ritual. The men strip to the waist and the women wear their most beautiful saris and have their hair braided with flowers and they all look very gorgeous. Outside is a giant market, full of tat mainly, but some interesting and quirky bits and the place is rammed. They come in their thousands and the buses line up and down the road for miles, well kilometres.
At the end, 12 mid-day they all jumped in the lake and started chucking water over everyone who hadn’t jumped in the lake. Once, when I went to an uber posh wedding everyone jumped in the swimming pool at the end, but they were pi**ed.
An young English woman A from Welwyn Garden City has turned up for a week to volunteer at French S’s language centre while she is off chasing her visa, so I am spending a bit of time with her every day. This morning I am meeting with a group of 7 specialist consultants and the 30+ department heads again (because they said I spoke too fast last time, but they don’t want an interpreter) to present on my findings for the plan.
Maamangeswaran Pillaiyar Temple
Amirthakali is 3 Km from Batticaloa town on the Batticaloa-Palameenmadu Road. The book Mattakkalappu Manmium says that this kovil belongs to the period of 2 to 3 Century AD. According to the legend, Prince Rama who saved Queen Seetha rested here prior to his return to India.
Maamângeshwaran Pillaiyar kovil exhibits old Hindu architecture. The festival held in July is one of the important festivals in Mâamângeshwaran Pillaiyar Kovil. This attracts thousands of people in and out of the city. Participants bathe from the pond in the Kovil compound at the end of the festival.