Saturn Kovil | Temple of Saturn

Saturn Kovil
Saturn Kovil

The God Saturn

When we heard about the God Saturn, The Saturn Kovil in India comes to our mind. The reason is the most famous temple which is built for the God Saturn is located in India. The Saturnic kovil in Kuchchanur is always worshipped by the Sri Lankans too. But those who offer sacrifices for God Saturn do not aware that there is also a kovil in Sri Lanka built for God Saturn. That means there is no need to go to India to hold ritual sacrifices for the God Saturn. But where is this kovil located? We are about to find out this Saturn Kovil

Shanisharan Saturn kovil in Sri Lanka

There are only two Saturn kovils in the world. One of them is the Kuchchanur kovil in India as we mentioned and the other one is in Trincomalee. This kovil is found at the Marathadi junction on the Trincomalee station road. But it is not easy to find this kovil when we go to Marathadi junction. Because, there are about 5 kovils built for various Gods at Marathadi junction. Therefore the best way to find the kovil after going to Marathadi junction in Trincomalee is to ask someone where the Shanisharan kovil is.


The legend behind the Saturn kovil

We found two opinions on the history of the Shanisharan kovil or the Saturnic kovil in Trincomalee. According to one opinion this kovil has been built during the Kandyan period. The God Saturn is in a dream of a prophet who lived in the Kandyan period, has been ordered that a kovil should be built in a place where he will be ordered. When the prophet finding for the exact position of the God, he found a torso of a bear. This kovil was built in that land. Although the construction of the kovil belongs to the Kandyan period according to the legend, there is a wonderful story which is belong to the reign of king Dutugemunu. That was about the battle between the giant Gotaimbara amd Jayasena of Ritigala. A dispute between the giant Gotaimbara and Jayasena of Ritigala at the party held to celebrate the victory of king Dutugemunu has led to a dueling struggle. The giant Gotaimbara wins this battle as he strikes a deadly blow separating Jayasena’s head. At that moment, the God Saturn who comes to help him, attaches a head of a bear to the torso of Jayasena. As the head is attached conversed he is known as Jayasena Mahasona. However, the bear’s head for the fixation was found from this place. This is the place which is shown by the God Saturn, to the prophet who lived in Kandyan Period. This is the folk story about this kovil.



Founders of the Saturn kovil

However, the present sacred clergyman of Saturn kovil tells a different story about this kovil. According to him, the kovil has commenced 200 years ago. He represents the fourth generation of custodians of the kovil. This kovil has been started by a family who regularly venerated the kovil. A person who was met in India has given them the idea. That clergyman said that the kovil was erected by this family in a land owned by them. The clergyman who is in charge of several kovils including the well known Kali Amma kovil in Trincomalee , is in a sick condition. Therefore his sons are engaged in the activities of this kovil instead of their father. Every Saturday their is a feast in the Saturnic kovil , but the sacrifice on Saturday is quite different.


The annual feast in Saturn kovil

A lot of devotees attend the Saturday sacrifice, where there are many other sacrifices including, bathing the sacred statue of God Saturn, cleaning the shrining room. A large number of Sinhala and Hindu devotees who have lamps in their hands,  designed with black wicks filled with sesame and oil can be seen in here every Saturday. The annual feast of Saturn kovil helds in October. Not only the kovil but also the area around it is filled with the devotees who come to the annual feast. According to Hindu religious beliefs, God Saturn is very powerful. Even Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the main God of Hinduism, has worshipped the God Saturn one time. Hence, Hindus have great respect for the god Saturn. Because of this dignity, they perform many rituals for the annual feast of the God Saturn. They do not have their breakfast on Saturdays within 5 weeks of the feast. In the morning they go to the feast in fast and they have their meals when they returned home. The first part of the prepared meal is reserved for the ravens. It is because of the belief that the vehicle of the God Saturn is the raven.


Surrender or sacrifice God Saturn Easily

However, any nation or any religion who come to this kovil can do thier sacrifices as thier wish. Also, all the sacrifices that are held at the Saturn kovil in India are held at this kovil. Therefore, we don’t need to go to India to surrender or to sacrifice God Saturn. There is also a place in Sri Lanka to do it with less time and low cost.

Written By – Jeewana Pahan Thilina & Chandana Ponnamperuma Translated by – Umesha Sewwandi