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“Okanda Devalaya -A Destination of mass pilgrim”
Review of Okanda Devalaya

Okanda Devalaya
Certificate of Excellence
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Okanda Devalaya –A Destination of mass pilgrim”
Reviewed September 4, 2013

Situated on the Kumana Panama jungle path Okanda Devalaya is believed to be the location God Skanda first sailed into Sri Lanka in a golden boat. The boat, which was turned into a rock, still stands on the Okanda beach known to all as the ‘Ran Oru Gala’.
Held in reverence by many without the difference of a religion, race or creed the temple’s origin is unknown although the signs of an ancient monastery are found nearby. Archeologists believe the temple being situated near the ancient Okanda harbor too would have increased its importance with many a seafaring men seeking its help before and after a journey.
Although the ancient devalaya was of much simpler structure and adornment the present temple imitates a more Southern Indian Kovil structure due to its large number of Tamil Hindu devotees.
Earnest devotees of Kataragama by the thousands, hailing from all communities but especially Tamil Hindus undertakes an annual Pâda Yâtrâ or foot pilgrimage via Okanda temple and Yala National Park to Kataragama for the Esala festivities in Kataragama.
Nearly 30,000 pilgrims from the Northern and Eastern coasts of Sri Lanka arrives in procession at Okanda to commence weeks long walk through Yala National Park to the temple of God Skanda in Kataragama. The devotees pray for Lord Skanda’s blessings and assistance prior to commencing their journey through the thick jungles of yala amidst the wild beasts of prey.
The ones who walk from afar are those who savor the traditional pilgrim’s life of sleeping in temples and under the open sky, accepting whatever alms that strangers may offer, and bearing up under scorching sun while walking barefoot on searing hot roads, clad only in simple pilgrim’s garb with a small bundle of offerings and belongings balanced upon their heads. All along the way, villagers await their chance to offer dâna to the small bands of swâmis and swâmi ammas.
For many pilgrims the Pâda Yâtrâ is a chance to visit ancient shrines all the way to Kataragama in the company of veteran devotees. Their long trek takes them to famous temples at Sittandy, Mamamgam, Kaluthavalai, and Mandur in Batticaloa District. In Ampara District they follow the coast via Tirukkovil, Pottuvil and Okanda through Yala National Park to reach Kataragama.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank Damitha H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Okanda Devalaya”
Reviewed July 3, 2013

This was the only place in Sri Lanka where I saw an "Aandi Well" except for the Northern parts of the country. The devalaya was very beautiful & once you climb to the top of the rock, you can see the entire surrounding area.

There're so many other attractions in the area as well such as Kudumbigala Monastery, Wildlife & archaeological sites in Kumana National Park, Arugam Bay Surfing, etc.

Accommodation options are not available in the immediate are & you will have to go to Arugam Bay for some decent guesthouses. But since Arugam Bay being a surfing hot spot, there're not a lot of star category hotels available in the town.

However you can try XTreme Nature Tours, Master Campers, etc for some camping inside the Kumana National Park. I would go with XTreme since their expertise on Kumana in unmatched. One of the director's father used to be the park warden for more than 2 decades & he's one of the naturalists at XTreme now.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Sanka W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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