Captain’s Garden Siva Kovil in Maradana (Sri Kaileswaram Kovil)

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Located in the heart of Colombo in Maradana, Sri Kaileswaram Kovil in the Captain’s Garden is considered the oldest Sivan Kovil in Colombo. Though the kovil is situated in the centre of Maradana, this is also isolated from all sides with a network of railway tracks and not as easily accessible as you would think. The entrance to Kovil Street is near a popular landmark, the second-hand bookshops of D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha and the road goes over the Fort railway lines and ends at the Kovil grounds.

There are several wonderful religious places around Colombo but some of these places do not welcome visitors so readily or even allow photography. Even though this kovil is an active place of worship you are made welcome to the place as long as you are decently dressed and photography is allowed at a nominal fee.

There are two kovils here, the Sri Balaselvanayagam Devasthanam (also called the Sri Bala Vinayaga Moorthy Devasthanam and the Sri Kailasanathar Swamy Devasthanam. The first kovil is dedicated to God Ganapathi or Ganesh while the second one is dedicated to Lord Shiva. These two kovils are supposed to be the oldest kovils in the city of Colombo.

During the Dutch regime in Ceylon, a Chetty community from “Thiruvilanga Nadu” in South India, engaged in mercantile activity had settled down in the Captain’s Garden area in Colombo. It is said that a devoted worshipper at the Bala Selvavinayakar Murthi temple at Captain’s Garden Colombo, who was bereft of any offspring, made a vow; he vowed that he would erect a proper Sivan temple to house the Siva Linga Murthy which was venerated under a tree in the garden. In the course of time, he was blessed with a son. The devotee, in fulfilment of his vow, erected the Kailasa nathar Sivan Kovil and also named his son Kailasanathan.

The Chettiyar managing Trustee Board had made several improvements and additions to the temple in 1933, making it a comprehensive agamic Sivan temple; Nanthies were provided at the Siva, Nadaraja and Ambal shrines; flagstaff was added and five other chariots for the five murthies Pillaiyar, Sivan, Ambal, Subramaniyar and Chandikeswarar.

Besides the central mulasthana murthies, in the praharam there are Prahara Murthi temples for Vinayakar, Nadarajar, Subramaniyar, Maha Vishnu, Chandikeswarar, Saniyeswarar and the Navagraha deities. Within the temple are the Sandirasekera and Rajarajeswari Murthi Vigrahams.

A notable feature here is the Kasi Viswanatha and the Kasi Visaladchi shrines, reminding the devotee of the holy institutions in Hinduism’s most revered Kasi or Benaris. There are also shrines for Brahma, Durga and Kali Amman in the northern pirahara.

Associated with the temple are madams for pilgrims and a school for children. The madam is a haven of rest for pilgrims en route to Kathirkamam.


  • Arumugam, S. (1991) in More Hindu temples of Sri Lanka: Ancient, medieval and modern. London: S. Arumugam.

Also See

Map of Captain’s Garden Sri Kaileswaram Kovil

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Driving Directions to Captain’s Garden Sri Kaileswaram Kovil

Route from Galle Face to Captain’s Garden Sri Kaileswaram Kovil
Distance : 5 km
Travel time : 15 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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