A temple revered by all religions in Sri Lanka. While its a little walk from the car park to the temple, its worth the effort. The main temple also has a small hindu temple devoted to Lord Murugan and Rishi Bhognathan.
Kataragama temple is a hindu and buddhist temple complex dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragama deviyo. It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the majority Sinhala Buddist, minority Hindu Tamils, Muslims and Vedda people. Almost all the shrines— and the nearby Kiri Vehera — are managed by Buddhists, apart from shrines dedicated to Tevayani, Shiva (Siva) and themuslim mosque.
Recommended review time for sightseeing: 1 h 30 m
A temple revered by all religions in Sri Lanka. While its a little walk from the car park to the temple, its worth the effort. The main temple also has a small hindu temple devoted to Lord Murugan and Rishi Bhognathan.
Visiting the temple was one of the highlights of my stay in Sri Lanka. I went to the Puja-ceremony in the evening. I bought a big scale with fruits and presents for Scanda and took part in the ceremony. It was very interesting: the priests take some of the fruits and money you offer to the god and give the rest back. On the big square the remains are being shared among the temple-visitors. It was an unforgettable lovely moment.
Vehicles dont go near the temple so one has to walk a really long distance to reach the temple. We could only see the surroundings of the temple since the temple was closed when we visited. Also one has to carry the footwear in hand and walk bare for some time to reach the temple.
A religious place visited by many of the Sri Lanka ns all throughout the year. However during the festive season heavily crowded and better to avoid. Finding accommodation parking food water etc would be scarce
This temple is located about 20 Km north of Tissa and is easily and cheaply reached by bus from the Tissa bus station.
The shrine attracts devotees from the Buddhist as well as the Hindu and Muslim faiths.
We arrived at about 4:30 pm which gave us time to explore the town and the very large complex that has many shrines.
Prayers (Puja) start at 6:30 pm and it was quite moving. The door to the shrine are opened and worshippers line up with their offerings of fruit. The priest takes part of the offering and returns the rest. A priest blesses you on your way out. Outside the worshippers sit and enjoy the fruit that was sent back from the temple. Many offered to share some of this fruit with us.
Outside at the same time there are drummers and dancers in front of the shrine.
There is also a small well in front of which worshippers say prayers holding a coconut on fire before smashing it into the well.
It was wonderful to watch while the Puja was happening.
It really is worth a walk around this area especially at Puja time. It does get rather crowded, but it is interesting to see the temples of different religions all in the one park.
We were spent one day in kataragama and went see kataragama temple in evening time.it very important places for sri lankan people both Buddhist and tamil people. It was very nice and religious tour . Most of the foreigners are coming there in PEREHARA season . i usually warship this place at least once a year ,
This Place should be free from Animals & Small Shops which disturb the pilgrims. More over proper controls to control the vehicles.
Is a special place for spiritual people. You will not find here imposing buildings, but something in air... Take your time... try to be there at pooja time
It was very religious temple. it has Buddhist and hindu temple located close to each other. vehicles no allowed so you have walk around 800m to 1km.
Kataragama devalaya is one of the places you should go to see how things happening inside. On the other hand, Kiri Vehera is a calm and quite place to spend some peaceful moments in the same busy place.
We were lucky enough to visit this temple on the eve of the new moon when many many pilgrims were visiting the site. There were very few of us tourists. We were privileged to see pilgrims worshipping.
Its a Average town with famous temple and One can go for Jungle safari. Not many decent restaurents.
Kataragama Hindu temple is world famous for Buddhists, Hindus & even some Christians & Muslims visit this place. Lots of Indian nationals too visit this place.
There is an annual festival in July, which is visited by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.
It would be nice if the temple can be kept cleaner.
We took the local bus from Tissa ...35 rupees each and 30 minutes in an interesting environment, it can get very crowded on the buses. The temple is about a 10 minute stroll from the bus station...just walk through what looks like a market full of fruit sellers. These guys sell platters for offerings in the temple. The temple itself is marvellous for people watching. So many different ways of showing your faith. Many lined up to offer the fruit for blessings in the main temple, directly opposite where you enter. There are also smaller areas just in side the gate where other prayers and offerings a made. While we were visiting there was a group of devotees that played trumpets and drums as they danced around all the smaller temples in the complex, ending up at the main one directly near the entrance of the gate. This was particularly exciting. While we sat on the edge of the walled complex and people watched, many people offered us fruit from the platers they had brought to the temple. Their generosity was humbling and made us feel very welcome despite being foreigners in a local place of worship. We spent over 2 hours here and would recommend a visit as it is a little off the beaten track and not your usual tourist location. Remember to wear modest clothing and shoes that can be slipped off easily. There is no set fee for looking after the shoes but a donation is suggested.
Sellers of Fruits are very bad....and Ugly. they try to catch more money from you,,,,,,Bad in foods near by area.
Cheap Accommodation is good.
I visited this temple in the evening at around 6. at that time the evening prayers were being offered. It lasted for about 2 hours and by that time no body is allowed to offer fruit/Prasad. there is great pump and show in this temple. The building, location and setup of the temple is very good and worth watching. Surprisingly the Idol of Lord Katargama is covered with one curtain and it is said that this curtain is never removed and the devotees are never permitted to have a look of the idol. I am unable to understand as to why the main temple Idol is kept in a veil........
The experience, in all fairness was enhanced by our guide Raja who got us to attend an Hindu ceremony. h e had overheard us say that we were a bit stuppaed out and but were interested in Hinduism.. It was unreal and powerful. No Westerners to be seen in the grounds, it felt like an authentic moment.
the templecomplex is large and was quite crowded when we visited it. This however is a plus as the people are very nice and quiet. You can walk around freely, visit temples and just experience the atmosphere.
Very ancient and historical and cultural place in Sri Lanka. A best place to relax the mind. Remember to wear charming dresses.
Very interesting place for anthropologists and tourists. We had to walk a lot to get to this place as during season it is difficult to even find parking to get to this place. A must see attraction if you happen to be in the Tissamaharama , Yala area.
Interesting look into a Temple where all groups can come together in harmony. Beliefs do not matter and all gather to worship together. Very hot so take plenty of water and you may get to see an elephant on display changed around his leg and I believe not looking very happy.
We visited in the festival week, in was very special, the dancing was brilliant, music, elephants and general madness. Definately worthwhile and free
We were spent two days in kataragama and went see kataragama temple in evening time.it very important places for sri lankan people who Buddhist and tamik people. It was very nice tour for my life.
It is definitely one of Sri Lanka's more commercial Hindu temple sites. However it does not seem to put the devotees off from heading to their beloved pilgrimage site, from all corners of the world. Poojas are a definite must see for those who have never experienced it here.
A must place to visit. You can come close to god and get blessed.Can see and Buddhist and Hindus temples
This place is a complex of many temples. Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims all have a presence here and were all excited about involving me in their traditions. There was always something going on both day and night. I found this place through shear luck on the way to Yala NP so I didn't know what to expect but it was an unforgettable experience. There were elephants and monkeys, parades, dancing, chanting, and just about every other religious activity going on at once. On the other hand, there were very austere and sacred sites too. This complex had such an eclectic mix of devotes and activities that everyone is sure to find something that appeals to them.
a must do on any tour of Sri Lanka. Better in the evening when the hot daytime stone surfaces have had time to cool for the gentler feet...
We recently visited Kataragama temple, it is a belief that people devoting many things to God Kataragama in return the blessing for success good health etc. it's a nice place to visit and a very busy place with Lots of pilgrims.
Great trip amongst the Buddhist drums and worshippers very close to the town. Get there at sundown and enjoy!
Many changes but the historic sections of the Hindu templs are still maintained well. Enjoyed the museum but didn't agree with the titles and explanations given to some of the ancient relics and archaeological findings. History shouldn't be rewritten!
there was a big crowd for the evening pooja. But the noon one was less crowded. If you go on a weekend, I would advice a noon pooja
This is a good place to watch village life go by. We saw monkeys, cattle, dogs and many birds in the park areas.
I visited this temple at around 1730 and saw the Pooja. It was impressive and highly entertaining.
The market area surrounding the entrance was also good fun.
I went alone, at night and did not feel at all unsafe. There are some excellent photo opportunities.
I could not enter the temple as it was closed when I visited the place. There are still other sights worth a look - the Kiri Vehara, the Bodhi tree, and a mosque.
What I liked most here was the Bodhi tree planted in the 3rd century BC, the sapling being brought from Bodh Gaya, India. It is believed to be a direct descendant of the tree under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment.
This is a sacred place in Sri Lanka for Buddhist, Hindu and Muslims. Please dress appropriately, no footware is allowed in the temple area.
a lot of cows and monkeys, becareful when taking fruits or handbags. but overall god spiritual experience
Every year I visit to the kataragama temple with my family. This is a great place where all the srilankan visit. It has great spiritual power. Though I am a Buddhist I believe on load kataragama too.
Ruhunu Kataragama Mahadevalya. - 1Km from the Resort complex
Kataragama deviyo is a deification of the legendary king Mahasena, who is born as a Bodhisattva or Buddha in waiting. According to legendary history Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya was built by King Dutugemunu around 160 years B.C. in fulfillment of a vow to defeat King Elara in battle. It was endowed with large extent of land by King Dutugemunu for its maintenance and subsequent monarchs did likewise.
Kataragama is one of the most attractive religious place in Sri lanka. Buddhist, Hindus and Muslim people worship katharagama. This place has quite a history and a background story. It has serviced for few thousand years from various aggressive invasions. If you are interested in historic places you must visit this place; if you like visiting religious places you must visit this place. If you are in sri lanka and looking for a place to visit Katharagama is a top priority. I totally recommend this place.
This years Esala Festival in Kataragama begins on June 28th Saturday.
Devotees trekking from Nort and East on Pada Yatra are expected to arrive in Kataragama by then.
The Daily Peraharas from Kataragama Devalaya will go to Valliamma Devalaya, perform rituals and return to Mag#ha Devalaya from 28th June.
Esala Perehara commence on 3rd July and will traverse the streets til the 8th of July every nite.
FIRE WALKING CEREMONY will be performed on 9th July,
Pereharas on 10th and 11th July will be followed by another Procession at Mid night.
The final Perehara will be on July 12th Full Moon day. This procession will proceed to Kirivehera Temple and after the religious rituals return to Maha Devalaya and exit the premises and proceed to ValliAmma devalaya where traditional rituals will be performed and return to Maha Devalaya.
The festival ends with the Water Cutting ceremony in the Menik Ganga at dawn on July 13th.
Kathirgamam is a primary center of Muruga worship. It is a very powerful temple located inside a forest. River manikka ganga flows nearer to the temple. This place is known for its mysterious power. Should spend lot of time in this place.
Lord buddha's great landmark. Very beautiful. we can learn some cultural background of sri lankans in there.
As a western tourist, if you can get over the stares and ensure you are covered up from head to toe, the experience is so worth it. We took a Tuk Tuk from Tissa (around 45mins) and our driver came in with us which turned out to be great to have someone local with you to explain certain parts and make you slightly less out of place. There is a lot of begging and a chained elephant which I didn't like, however the rest was just enchanting. To witness hundreds of people in pray and three religions coming together was amazing and the dedication they all put to their faith. The music that bellows out is beautiful and you really start to feel at one here. A great experience that i shall never forget.
We felt very humbled by our visit here. This is a holy place for Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. We put away the camera and just enjoyed the experience of being amongst the hundreds of pilgrims who were there for the evening puja - marvellous!
I really can only say that the holiness and devotion that occurs at Kataragama is like nothing I have ever seen...the pilgrims come every day and night and you become one with thousands who have made the journey...it is a life changing spiritual experience that I will never forget as long as I live!
I lost my bag here with my passport, my money, my credit cards and my DSLR and didn't realize it until the next morning...I was frantic but my husband and our wonderful driver drove back to the temple and in the temple office tucked between file cabinets was my bag untouched found by a female temple worker who turned it in! My sister had told us to go back to the temple because it is a holy place and you never know and sure enough she was right. The next evening we all drove to the temple so I could thank the woman who found my bag and let her know how grateful I was! I learned a lesson about attachment here that was profound!
Very interesting mix of many Budhist, Hindu and Muslim temples. Neon lite Buddha' s fascinated me. Perhara , main full moon festival for entire country a must see.
We visited Kataragama Holy city in July 2013, it was a month before the festive season, and the city was getting ready for the celebrations. Plus it was a long week end, where Monday was also a holiday, as a reuslt there were more visitors than average.
Except for the kovil, there is Kiri vehera, which is a buddhist temple, which is also a must visit temple in the southern coast...
There were many places to buy fruit baskets which were offered to Lord Kataragama.. and of course many souvenirs you can buy.
I suggest to avoide week ends if you interested to enjoy the calm serene city of Kataragama.
Kiri Vehera, they call it in Sinhalese since the temple is pure white. The main attraction in Katharagama and is worshiped by Buddhists as well as Hindu's as they have pooja's in the evenings. The long sandy road to the temple is soothing to the feet and the beautiful flowers sold along the road side is an lovely site. Best visited in the evenings as the place comes quite alive towards evenings. Very much worth a visit if you are in Katharagama.
I have been twice. Evening service is best. Wear your white clothes. Go to the parking lot. Ask Kushan, the tuk tuk driver to make you a puja plate and drop you off at the back of Kirivehera. Buy your lights/incense/flowers. Do your Buddhist worship. Then walk to the Devale - hindu temple - and say your prayers, offering the Puja plate to the evening service (1830). It is nice and breezy and less crowded at this time. Do some bellringing,walk and see the other devales for other gods/goddesses and get Kushan to pick you up and take you back to the parking lot. He is a very useful contact.
Visited this very large and well known temple complex on a very hot day and wished we'd had thick hiking socks on. Tip we'd had from our driver on any day we were visiting temples was to wear socks, and one of us had forgotten completely, the other had thin ones on. There are a lot of stalls selling things on the way in for offerings and so forth, and one of them should stock socks for unwary tourists! There's a walk in and then you reach the hut where you leave your shoes and hats - it's quite a way from there across hot sandy grit to the actual temples and it was seriously burning that day. Some visitors must have been laughing at the antics trying to touch down as little as possible. It's a bit different, in that there are multiple temples and a sacred bo tree and various things going on all at once. Apparently it's a regular place of pilgrimage and where a lot of Sri Lankans bring their new cars for their first outing and hang copies of the registration plates on tree to ensure safe and trouble free driving - understandable when you see the traffic in Colombo! In one Hindu temple our foreheads were marked and we went around a few closer by, before the feet got too sore and I stayed in the shade of the bo tree watching a couple with two youngsters making their offerings there, circling the tree with pots of water, while husband and driver went to the farthest temple. By the time they returned there were a group of people dancing in front of the first temple, which we stayed to watch, before leaping as fast as possible back across the sand to the shoe hut. An interesting experience and worth a visit if you're interested in different cultures and faiths - but don't forget the socks!
People visit Kataragama for a multitude of reasons, out of veneration, to see a facet of religeous culture, pilgrimage, tourist on site seeing etc.
Kataragama is in the deep South of Sri Lanka and borders the Yala sanctuary a world renowned place for elephant, leopard, bear, deer peacock, migrant birds and other wildlife. Yala borders the Indian ocean.
Kataragama is mainly venerated by Buddhists and Hindus as both pay homage to the Deity Lord Skanda ( Kataramama Deviyo/ God Kataragama). There are two places of veneration in Kataragama - the Maha Devale of Lord Skanda and the Kiri Vehera. Buddhists first worship Kiri Vehera, a dagoba of great magnitude and serenity to offer flowers, light lamps, incense, then prey and meditate and thereafter proceed to Kataragama Maha Devale / Kovil on a walkway that joins the two places of worship. Kataragama Maha viharaya is visited by all religions in Sri Lanka, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim etc, during the pooja times, when beels are rung incense is lit, invocations are made and alms specially prepared by devotees on a 365 day roster are brought amidst ceremony. It is a sight to behold and an experience for the mind.
The precincts of the Maha Devale is also home to other shrines,a sacred bo tree, and a properly organized pilgrim would earn merits for himself by visiting all these places of worship, which even includes a muslim mosque.
Thoughout my life I've been here several times on a pilgrimage with family, and it always has been a wonderful experience. The colours, the sounds, the spiritual aspect is unforgettable. I think even through a tourists eyes it would be a fabulous experience.
Do visit the Kiri Vehera, which is about a 5 min walk from the Devale.
You can arrange for fruit baskets to offer as blessings at various shops nearby, and they will carry it for you from the car park/shops, across the river to the Devale. However you can also get a police permit to drive over a (very) narrow bridge behind the devale and park closer.
This is the only temple site I have ever visited that caters for multi-religions in the one site - Hindu, Islam and Buddhist temples sit side by side. The staff are friendly and helpful - willing to tell you about the different aspects of their religion without trying to convert you. Really interesting to see the different styles in one place.
A very spiritual place which is one of the most sacred sites to Buddhists ,Hindus and Moslems in Sri Lanka .Katargama is a place of pilgrimage for these faiths ,so it was very busy .Going from a Buddhist shrine through a door to the Hindu temple .
There are two sacred Bo trees taken from the famous Bo tree at Anpuradhapura.
An interesting sight was the tourists going under the two temple elephants seven times for good luck.the walk up to Maha Deaval and Kira Viham had people selling flowers to the devotees ,the children all asking got bonbons!!!
At 10.30 the daily Poya takes place ,the most holy place roped off ,drums playing ,a red carpet laid out for the monk to begin the offerings ,smashing of coconuts at the entrance made the visit very atmospheric
It was a nice temple cleanly maintained. I liked clean environment but dissapointed because the deity- Murugan is not an idol but only in the form of a screen print
A must see historical location with its proven spiritual power and has a lot to experience. Try the evening Pooja times so that you can experience more attractions also. Poya days in Sri Lanka may be a little packed in side. You will be amazes with the devotees and their faith over the God 'Katharagama'
This place goes well beyond what I like and do not like - but what I liked was the proximity of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians
The visit to the Buddhist and Hindu temple on a full moon day was great as the kids experienced the crowds and prayers in full swing.
There are in fact two main temples in Kataragama - one Hindu and the other Buddhist. We visited for the evening puja - I would not recommend visiting outside the main worship times, as much of what there was to see was people watching. We parked in the commercial area (with stalls selling fruit and flowers) and walked across the bridge to the temples.
First impressions were that Kataragama is a dirty town - there is a lot more rubbish around than we saw in the rest of Sri Lanka. But after dark one can ignore that.
There are some old columns by the Buddhist stupa which apparently date from a much earlier temple on the site. In the Hindu temple worshipers were queuing to have fruit blessed. We were interested to see that after being blessed many were eating the fruit.
I'm not sure if this is true, but our guide said that the priests working in the Hindu temple were not actually monks - but were 'normal' people. If this is the case then one would wonder what the value of the blessing is to the worshipers.
Once again, like at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy - the commercialisation of religion made me somewhat uncomfortable.
Spend at least two days at Kataragama and participate at the ceremonies at the Dewalas.Be respectful as the place is sacred.
I made an 8-day-trip to Sri Lanka from 8/11/12 to 15/11/12. Upon reaching the Bandaranaike Airport of Colombo, Sri Lanka on 8/11/12 at 11am, I headed to Kataragama by bus, and reached the Kataragama bus station(Yala Road, Kataragama)at 1am. After a short nap in a nearby hotel, i.e. Weerasir Hotel, I proceeded to the main Murugan Temple complex there, i.e. Maha Devale which is dedicated to Skanda-Murugan known amongst the Sinhalese as Kataragama deviyo. This shrine contains the lance of the six-faced, 12-armed Hindu war god, Murugan. In the main Devale, there r 2 appartments which is accessed through 7 veils/curtains. After a quick prayer and a short stop at the Puja Stalls outside the temple complex to buy souveniers, I headed to the nearby Kataragama Bus station.
I have been to Kataragama more than 10 times in my life and its a huge area where you need to walk around the scred city to worship. It is a relegious place for all races of sinhalese, tamils. muslims, burger and english. The place is always crowded during weekends and weekdays are better. And the morning and evening poojawa is at 6 and 6 pm for the god of kataragama at the devalaya. You would need to join the queve before hand with the treat to the god where you can buy them. Once the Poojawa is done everybody is served with tasty treat. I have eaten it twice and its so yummy and smells great. Anyone who visits kataragama another better place to visit on your way is Yala national park.
check out www.kataragama.org
I am just a mundane traveller who has visited this place several times out of historical interest. I have been there over the years and have been amazed at the faith of the millions of people who visit it. The Buddhists, the Hindus, the Christians, the Muslims and those of many faiths from all over the world. It reminds me of this Sufi saint's grave in Ajmer, India. What I would like to advice travellers who are sceptics over faith in general, is not to visit Kataragama God. It is a holy place with a lot of power that goes beyond your measurement scales. I have had several friends who have expressed sceptism and I have seen unpleasant things happening to them during the same night. One of my uncles was lost all night and we could not find him. It appears that he had a temporary "memory loss" that night after he told some sceptic things about the heathen who believe in Kataragama God.
Kataragama temple has some thing called "pooja" which is an offering at 6.30 pm in the evening, 4.30 am and 10.30 am. People generally take a bath before hand, wear white clothing and visit the temple grounds without headwear and footwear. If you are interested in more details, check out the website above.
The historical "pada yathra" , walk from the North to the South is also an interesting event, in the likes of "camino de santiago".
Here is another interesting place to visit for Tourists to Sri Lanka. The temple is steeped in the History of the island, and many local pilgrims visit the temple throughout the year. Located near the Manik Ganga or river, this place consists of several temples dedicated to the Hindu Gods. Tourists have to remove their head gear and footwear to visit the temples, and must be appropriately dressed covering the entire body. This might be an inconvenience during the daytime, under the blazing sun. Please seek permission before taking pictures. Avoid the main festival times, mid July to early August.
If you’re going to yala, this on the way and it’s one of the famous “dewalayas” in sri lanka ,it’s worship by many religious cultures. The evening "poojawa" stars at 6Pm(if I could remember correctly) and It tends to get very crowned during the weekends.
You have to be properly dressed to enter the temple!!!!
Katharagama is one of the highest spiritual temples for God in Sri Lanka. Katharagama Temple has a long lasting history ran to the earliest time of Sri Lanka.
Katharagama God has come to Sri Lanka from India and resided in the area now where the Katharagama Temple is situated near to the present Yala National Park. Thousands of people visit Katharagam yearly for their pooja(offering) to the Katharagama temple form every corner of the country. Also some tourists from different countries of the world.
For a tourist who visits Sri Lanka can visit this place and suburb also. Most of the tourist visits Yala National Park as a part of their itinerary can easily get Katharagama Temple en their route. From Colombo Airport it is nearly 350 Km and 6 to 8 hours journey along the beautiful costal way to the down south Sri Lanka. Passing so many world known cities and beaches like Mount Lavinia, Benthota, Beruwala, Galle, Mirissa, Thangalle and Hambanthota you can get this place.
For accommodation you can stay in Thissamaharama or yala. From Thissamaharama you can visit Katharagama Temple within half an hour time. The temple Pooja is starting in the morning and stop in the evening. After worshipping the temple you can visit many other temples according to your desire.
From Thissamaharama you can visit Yala National Park the most visited national park in Sri Lanka (there are lot of Safari Jeeps you can find there) and many more places. To learn more about Katharagama visit http://kataragama.org