Yet another holy city in Sri Lanka, Kataragama is steeped in belief and lore. It is a site of worship for many a pilgrim, regardless of culture and religion. The spiritual city lies mere 300 kilometers off Colombo. The Kataragama Maha Devalaya is the cynosure of religious belief in the area, and at any given time, you will find throngs of devotees lining up to the steps of the Devalaya with baskets of offerings in hand seeking the divine blessings of Lord Murugan who is the presiding deity of the temple. Kataragama comes alive with religious fervour towards the end of July as time for the annual festival of the Devalaya draws near. The Kataragama Perahera parades the streets to bestow blessings to the multitude of pilgrims thronging the site.

Located near the Devalaya is Kiri Vehara, a Buddhist temple tracing its roots back to the 3rd century BC. According to the annals of history, Lord Buddha is said to have stopped at the temple during his third visit to Sri Lanka. Buddhist devotees believe that a hair relic of Buddha is enshrined in the stupa. An ancient monastery of Buddhist monks, the Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya is yet another place of importance in Kataragama. Perched atop a 400ft high rock, the temple offers scenic views of the area. The paintings and inscriptions on the main temple walls date back to the 2nd century BC. Sella Kataragama is a sleepy town just a few kilometers away from Kataragama. Humble abodes greet the visitor while proud peacocks march along its scenic walkways.

Kataragama - VISIT 2 SRI LANKA
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