The Kataragama Festival – Rituals Rooted in Tradition and Mystic

Kataragama is a venerated religious site which is frequented by many Sri Lankans of all ethnicities. It also happens to be one of the 16 places on the island visited by the Lord Buddha.

History

The Kataragama deity is believed to have lived in the jungles near the Menik River with his two wives. King Dutugamunu is said to have visited the deity to fulfil a vow he made to him after defeating his rival. He was told to build a shrine on the location where a golden arrow shot by the Kataragama deity landed, hence, the location of the temple as seen today.

The Festival

The Kataragama festival commences 10 days prior to the full moon which falls on July and ends with a final parade known as a perehara on the full moon day. Devotees dressed in a symbolic white flock from all parts of the country and stand for hours to see the vernation takes place.

Things to See

The festival is extremely colourful and contains fascinating rituals rooted in a tradition which date back to ancient times. The parade is the most colourful and fascinating aspect of the festival and contains various dances, acrobatics along with a procession of elephants.

How to get there

The Kataragama Devalaya can be reached approximately in 5 hours from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka via the Southern Expressway. Plenty of hotels in Kataragama, Sri Lanka are available to choose from for accommodation, including the likes of Mandara Rosen Kataragama.

Filled with wanderlust that seeks to explore distant shores and captivated by the colors and vibrancy of exotic cultures, Kanya Mae writes on the beautiful, exciting, and enchanting wonders of the world. She is a writer who not only has a passion for travel, but also has a background in fashion, art and media. Google+

Wai Kru Festival in Thailand – A Fascinating Spiritual Journey

An event of profound religious and spiritual significance, the Wai Kru Festival or the Sak Yant Festival claims to bring physical and spiritual protection by way of the many exotic Sak Yant tattoos.

What is the Wai Kru Festival?

An intense experience and one of the famous festivals in Bangkok, the Wai Kru Festival is also known as the Sak Yant Festival. The Wai Kru Festival is not to be confused with the traditional phrase “Wai Kru” that is part of a ritual where students pay gratitude to their teachers.

Tattooing the Devotees

Over 10,000 Buddhist devotees gather at the Wat Bang Phra (temple) in Thailand for the Wai Kru Festival. The tattooists or the monks at the temple draw protective tattoos on the devotees with a single long needle about 18 inches long and 4 millimetres in width. Popular designs include tigers, monkeys and ancient Cambodian script.

Highlights of the Event

Some devotees with protective tattoos are said to enter trances or become possessed by the spirits. The sight of the tattooed devotees acting out the traits of the animals inked on to their bodies is a fascinating experience for visitors. Those on the lookout for such intriguing experiences on their vacation can consider an online Bangkok travel guide or blogs with information on such events such as Travel Bangkok Now.

Aftermath of the Trance

The common belief states that the Sak Yant tattoos are powerful and protect those who wear them from illness and death. The devotees are advised not to consume alcohol if they wish the powers to be effective.

Every March, the Wat Bang Phra temple of Nakhom Pathom, #Thailand, becomes the scene of a powerful celebration, known as the Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival. While in most western countries #tattoos are viewed as an art form, in #Thailand, a country with a culture deeply rooted in #spirituality, tattoos are considered more than just skin deep artworks. The traditional Thai tattoos, known as “#SakYant”, are believed to have #magical powers, and people get them done at #temples, for protection against evil #spirits, and as good luck charms. Many members of Thai police, #army, and the underworld think some tattoos have the power to stop bullets and blades from piercing their skin. Each year, tattooed devotees come to #WatBangPhra #temple, a place famous for its tattoo #masters, to pay their respects to the art of Sak Yant, in a special ceremony known as #WaiKhru. Attended by tens of thousands of people, the event becomes quite a spectacle when the #animalspirit possessions begin. #WaiKruFestival – a time for devotees to come back and “re-charge” their #tattoo's magical attributes, and for new ones to be done. One of the many reasons Great Spirit has sent me here. #HigherVibes #HigherVibes2012

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Filled with wanderlust that seeks to explore distant shores and captivated by the colors and vibrancy of exotic cultures, Kanya Mae writes on the beautiful, exciting, and enchanting wonders of the world. She is a writer who not only has a passion for travel, but also has a background in fashion, art and media. Google+