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Kataragama Festival.. add it to your itinery.

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Kataragama Festival.. add it to your itinery.


This post is aimed at anyone that my find themselves in the south east, Kataragama / Tissamaharama ,, areas over the next week or so.

The festival at Kataragama is not so well known or publisized as the Kandy Festival but the origins go back at least as far in history and to many devotees it's the more important of the two with many pilgrims walking ( yes some still walk ) from all over Sri Lanka to attend.

Attending the festival should make a great addition to anyone being in tha Yala area for a safari.

Details are as below which I've copied over from the National News Agency.


Sunday, 11 July 2010 12:06

(Colombo Lankapuvath) The Annual Esala festival in Katharagama is scheduled to begin tomorrow (12) and the Final Randoli Perehara will parade the streets on the 25th of this month.

The festival is followed by the traditional fire walking ceremony which will be held in the 22nd of this month while the conclusion of the ceremony will be marked by the rituals commencing at the Menik ganga on the 26th.

A large number of devotees are expected to attend the festival due to the peaceful atmosphere in Sri Lanka says Basnayake Nilame of the Kataragama Maha Dewala Shasheendra Rajapakse.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Railway and Sri Lanka Transport Board have jointly organised a special transport service for the benefit of pilgrims. The service will operate from Monday the 12th to the 26th of July Special bus services will be available from Bandarawela to Kataragama and Matara to Kataragama.


I do know of one DE who would love to be there,, wouldn't you Sue?


St Austell
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1. Re: Kataragama Festival.. add it to your itinery.

Rod, you are dead right. I love Kataragama at any time of the year, but to attend this festival would be amazing. I'll time it right one year.

You'll need to be prepared for some displays of self-mutilation though. Devotees practise acts such as walking on hot coals, or pierce their faces with skewers, or hang from hooks which are attached through the skin on their backs.

It could be hard to find accommodation in Kataragama at this time. There are few luxury options here anyway and they are likely to be booked up well in advance.

Are we on for next year then Rod?!


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2. Re: Kataragama Festival.. add it to your itinery.

OK Sue,

Just so long as I don't have to participate with the firewalking and entertaining the crowds by having big steel butchers hooks piercing me..

I'm not squeamish about pain just so long as it's someone else.

Seriously, I did read of this festival in the book, " The Village In the Jungle " written by Virginia Woolf's husband, Leonard, when he was a British Army Officer, back in the 1800,s.

The festival and the pilgrims were described in that and since reading it I've wanted to get there to see it for myself.

Missed it this year, perhaps next.


Bangkok, Thailand
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3. Re: Kataragama Festival.. add it to your itinery.

I went to the festival last year while staying with friends in Tissa and can absolutely recommend it - truly colourful and absorbing.

4. Re: Kataragama Festival.. add it to your itinery.

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