Now, the Munneswaram temple is renowned for Navaratri - dedicated to various aspects the presiding goddess- and Sivaratri- dedicated to Shiva- celebration/festivals. These functions are primarily for Hindus, but the annual Munneswaram Festival is an important event in the temple’s calendar, not only attracting Hindus, but also Buddhists, Catholics, and even Muslims. On the penultimate day of the festival, there is a procession and it truly is a sight to see. An image of the goddess is placed on a wooden chariot and pulled around the temple by devotees. On the final day, devotees take two large chariots to the Deduru river, where they dip images of the goddess.
Munneswaram seems to perfectly capture the essence of Sri Lanka; it is a site of history, myth, and worship each linked to different ethnic groups of the island. Its long history shows how intertwined things are in the country, from myth and history, to the entwining of two different religions. Munneswaram temple is a must-visit site, especially if you’re pressed for time. It is only a short drive away from Negombo beach, and hotels like Club Hotel Dolphin organise tours for their guests— this experience is highly recommended.