Kataragama - Sacred Sri Lankan Town

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Sep 05, 2007

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, March 26, 2006

We had a wonderful time in Ella, it was so beautiful, set high up in the mountains, we walked for 6kms downhill on our second day to the stunning Ella Rawana Waterfall, it was hardgoing in the hot sun, be we made it....and it was worth it - the waterfall was gorgeous and all of the locals were bathing and washing their clothes in it!

We left Ella, me sat on my rucksack, with my feet on somebodys bag of onions, and half of my bum on a Buddhist monks lap, Matt almost hanging out of the open doorway next to sheer drops for 27kms on the road downhill! It was an experience...and luckily we live to tell the tale!

We changed buses after a couple of hours and arrived early afternoon, in the quiet leafy town of Kataragama.
Theres nothing to the town itself, the temples here are the big attraction, and we decided to come here to see the evening Puja at the Buddhist and Hindu Temples.
We walked through the town, past lots of market stall selling Puja garlands, fruit etc, and made our way through the Sacred Precinct to the Temple itself. The Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and sometimes even Christian all worship here together - its one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka along with the Temple of the Tooth which we already visited in Kandy.

We stayed for about an hour, smelling the inscence, watching the pilgrims and locals go into the temple and make their offerings...usually fruit or flowers, once they have given their offerning they come outside and at Kataragamas shrine they set a coconut alight...make a prayer...then throw the coconut hard at the floor of the shrine, if the coconut breaks in half its good luck, if it doesnt..well!?! Nearly everyone did this - its a huge tradition and something that they strongly believe in.

At the temple there were also elephants - which are a sacred animal...the sights, smells and atmosphere was just amazing, and even though we only stayed one night we are glad that we made the effort and saw the evening Puja for ourselves....

Next update from the beach.....

Love and Hugs

Ali and Matt
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