On the mainland, 10km east of Mannar Town, Thirukketeeswaram Kovil is one of the pancha ishwaram, the five historical Sri Lankan Shiva temples established to protect the island from natural disaster. It’s an imposing site, with a towering, colourful gopuram. Ranged around the temple are pavilions containing five gigantic floats, called juggernauts, that are wheeled out each February for the impressive Maha Sivarathiri festival. The entire complex is in the midst of a vast reconstruction and expansion.
Thirukketeeswaram Kovil is 1km north off the A32, about 3km east of the Mannar causeway. Buses from Mannar are regular; three-wheelers charge Rs 1000 for the round trip. There are a few stands offering drinks and snacks; peacocks strut their stuff.