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.


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+