SRI SWAMIJI IN SRI LANKA
for SHANKARI DARSHAN
2nd to 5th May 2005
Parama Pujya Sri Swamiji decided on to go
to Sri Lanka to visit the famed SHANKARI Temple, one of the 18 Devi Temples
(Ashta Dasha Shakti Peethas). Sri Swamiji flew Bangalore - Colombo on 2nd
May 2005 morning.
Many have heard the Ashtadasha Shakti Peetha
Shloka starting with LANKAAYAAM SHAANKARI DEVI........... - composed by
Sri Adi Shankara which means Shankari in Lanka.This Shloka enumerates the
list of places of Devi temples which are considered to be part of the 18
But almost nobody we contacted in Sri Lanka knew of any famous
Devi Temple in the country. Even on Internet, not much authentic information
was available. Sri Swamiji opined that the temple should be in the famed
town of Trincomalee on the eastern coast. With that hope we left India.
In Colombo (capital city of Sri Lanka or formerly Ceylon),
Dr. Sudarshan Kumari and Dr. Kumar received Sri Swamiji at the airport.
Sri Harshith Dharma Dasa of Nawaloka group came for Darshan
and welcomed Sri Swamiji to Sri Lanka. In the evening, Sri Swamiji visited
the home of Smt. Dr. Sudarshan Kumari and a Buddhist temple situated on
a lotus pond.
On 3rd May (Tuesday), Sri Swamiji traveled from West Coast
of Sri Lanka (Colombo) thru the centre of the island nation to the east
coast town of Trincomalee, the journey which took eight hours. All along
we listened to the the audio CD SHAANKARI and the song LANKA SHAANKARI
PAALAYAMAAM in particular. Crossing the entire mid section of a country
in just 8 hours - from west coast to east coast is amazing.
Later that evening, the temple of Sri Shankari Devi was
inquired and visited. As per the priest's account, the Portuguese who invaded
the island in the 17th century completely cannon balled from their ship
and demolished the cliff top Devi temple. In its site stands a lone pillar,
as a mute spectator.
The present Shiva temple which is quite well known locally
than the Shankari Temple was a recent construction. The Shiva is called
as TRIKONESHVARA (Probably because it is in Trincomalee which is truly
TRI CONA MALAI- meaning triangle shaped hill). There is a small Devi Shrine
built adjacent the Shiva temple. Sri Swamiji worshipped in both the shrines
and then visited the famed Bilva tree which is perched right on the edge
of the hill some hundred meters above the Indian ocean. It is a exhilarating
and spectacular sight to behold. Sri Swamiji sat at the edge and prayed
for a while. The all round silence reflected what is needed most in this
war torn nation rightfully called as a paradise. The priests poured their
heart about the difficult times they encountered and how the coped with
From there, Sri Swamiji visited the more famous Kali temple in the heart
of the town. Later, Sri Swamiji inquired about the Tsunami disaster and
the rehabilitation efforts.
On Wednesday 4th May 2005, Sri Swamiji took bath in the sparkling and
warm Indian ocean. Being Ekadashi, special prayers were offered.The priests
and the Temple committee members met Sri Swamiji again and sought Blessings.
At 9 AM, the 9 hour return journey commenced. Midway - most appropriate
- mid way stops were held. The ever green forest, the flora and fauna
was non stop.
The next day (5th), Sri Swamiji walked along the Colombo
coast and in the evening, returned to Bangalore from Colombo.
As fog descends, turning the Trincomalee cliffs
The Indian ocean laps to the hills of Trincomalee.
The small light dots are the temple of Trikoneshvara Shiva
Sri Swamiji outside the Trikoneshvara Shiva Shrine
Sri Swamiji worships Trikoneshvara
Arati by Sri Swamiji in the Devi Shrine
The chief priest shows the Utsava Murti idols
Sri Swamiji gives Kumkuma Prasadam to Dr. Kumar.
Smt. Sudarshan Kumari,
Prof. Krishan Kumar and Kusumakka watch
Sri Swamiji near the sacred Bilva tree at the edge of
the cliff. Indian ocean down below.
The calm and quiet Indian ocean, a glaring contrast to the 26th December
2004 Tsunami Rage it assumed. Trincomalee was greatly affected by Tsunami
Just above stands the lone pillar, a stubborn reminder of the early
Shankari Temple that must have stood before the Portuguese invasion in
Ekadashi (11th Day) of Chaitra Month fell on 4th May 2005. Sri Swamiji
took a leisurely one hour bath in the Indian ocean
A Buddhist temple and statue - one of the many we came across in the
journey from Colombo to Trincomalee