Heading to Kataragama
According to Hindu beliefs, Vellan alias Kanda Swamy alias Murugan alias Kataragama, of Indian origin settled in Panama in Southern Sri Lanka, with a native woman named Valli who lived near the Yala forest close by and their place of residence is called Kataragama today.
According to another belief, Kataragama derived its name after a provincial ruler named Mahasena who ruled the area presently called Kataragama and got elevated after his death, to be veneered as a deity named Kataragama Deiyo or god in Sinhala.
Kataragama is a perennial tourist destination for people of all walks of life irrespective of their religious tendencies. The Hindus worship the gods at the Devalaya and the Buddhists worship Kirivehera. The months of July and August each year draw the largest number of people to Kataragama, on account of the Annual Perahera or the Procession held there. This period is very colourful for many festivities take place during this period.Also,you will be able to witness certain people performing self-mortification rituals.
Kataragama can be reached from the city of Colombo on two main roads. One is through the Southern Expressway via Matara, Tangalle, Hambantota and Tissa which takes about five hours to reach Kataragama. The other is through Ratnapura – Udawalawe-Thanamalvila. Though the distance is more, the time it takes is less than on the latter road. Kataragama is reachable by road only since the railway is still under construction.
Sella Kataragama which is located about three kilometers from Kataragama, is a place worth visiting for there is a devalaya , a place where people believe gods reside in, to watch the religious rituals being performed in honour of the Kataragama god. It is also good to have a dip in cool water of the Manik River.
There is plenty of budget accommodations and star class accommodations in Kataragama. For those who are interested in wildlife, Yala national Wildlife Park is not far away.