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.
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