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Old & New Kathiresan Temple

Hidden within the crowded streets of Colombo, the Old & New Kathiresan Temples stand dedicated to Skanda, the Hindu God of War, also known as Lord Murugan. Hindu temples are known as “kovils”, and these two beautiful kovils feature stunningly decorated exteriors with ornate carvings and sculptures of various Hindu gods.

The first Kathiresan Temple has existed for a hundred years, and remains today a quiet centre for peaceful contemplation and comfort. Until recently, the temple has undergone a series of renovations that took place over a period of ten years, and is therefore relatively empty compared to other temples nearby. It features a striking green lawn and colourful temple tower to welcome new visitors.

A new kovil dedicated to Lord Murugan was constructed near this first temple, which became known as the New Kathiresan Temple while the first became the Old Kathiresan Temple. As is the case when visiting any religious sites, there are specific customs to adhere to. With Hindu temples, it is customary to wear clean clothes, remove your shoes and bring an offering such as sticks of incense, garlands of flowers, or silk cloth with which to drape the deities. Photographs cannot be taken inside the kovil. Cows and roosters are also kept at the Kathiresan Temples – the cows to provide milk for religious rituals, and the roosters because they are significant to the story of Lord Murugan.