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Bell Towers of Hindu Temples of Jaffna - An influence of Christian Churches?

Updated on September 25, 2007
A Temple in T.Nagar, Chennai, Tamilnadu. Note, there is no Bell Tower as a prominant feature.
A Temple in T.Nagar, Chennai, Tamilnadu. Note, there is no Bell Tower as a prominant feature.
A Temple in Jaffna Town. Note the Belll Tower next to the Gate Tower.
A Temple in Jaffna Town. Note the Belll Tower next to the Gate Tower.

Hindu Temples of Jaffna

There had been Hindu temples in Jaffna the northern region of Sri Lanka, for several centuries. However, when Portuguese captured Jaffna in 1620 AD, all temples existed at that time, without any exception had been demolished. Although, Potuguese rule lasted only 38 years, people could not build any themples, as the Duch who suceded Portuguese too did not allow to practice any relegions other than their own. It took about 175 years to build the first temple after 1620.

Towards the end of Dutch rule in Jaffna around 1796, they relaxed their policy and a few Hindu themples have been built. Although the basic temple buildings conform to the religious texts and very similar to the ones in Tamilnadu of India, from where most of the Jaffna population could have come in the remote past, Jaffna themples have a few regional characters. One of these characters which is absent in Tamilnadu temples is the Bell Tower.

One cannot see a proper Bell Tower in Tamilnadu temples. However, almost all temples of reasonable size in Jaffna cosist of a bell tower as an important feature. The first two photos show this difference.

A Hindu Temle and a Church in Jaffna. Note the Bell Towers in both the buildings.
A Hindu Temle and a Church in Jaffna. Note the Bell Towers in both the buildings.

Jaffna Temples and Churches.

Pictures found below show bell towers in Temples and churches of Jaffna. Similarities are clearly visible. However, what is not clear is, how the traditional arhitects or Stapatis as called by Hindus, managed to include this feature, which is not described in religious texts related to Temple Architecture, in their design.

A Church in Jaffna with free standing Bell Tower.
A Church in Jaffna with free standing Bell Tower.
A Hindu Temple in Inuvil Compare the Bell Tower with previous photograph of the Church.
A Hindu Temple in Inuvil Compare the Bell Tower with previous photograph of the Church.

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    • profile image

      Modaya 

      2 years ago

      Stupid, Hindu temples were built 5,000 - 6,000 years back in Sri Lanka. Churches came after the Europeans. How the churches can influence the previously built temples?

    • profile image

      kumar 

      7 years ago

      well done

    working

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