Roadtrip to Kataragama

Trip Start May 21, 2007
Trip End Aug 08, 2015

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Saturday, July 21, 2007

Last night we all loaded up a van and headed to a festival in Kataragama (about 40kims outside Hambantota). There aout 9\10 of us altogether with 3 children, what seemed like 50litres of water and enough food to feed the whole of Hambantota twice! It's an annual 2week festival (this is the end of the 1st week) and a lot of Buddhists travels from all over the country, sleeping under the stars for the duration. It ends with a huge celebration next Sunday (another Poya day).
The whole town was lined with people. The procession took about an hour for everything to pass you. There was music, dancing, flame throwers and the obligatory elephants, that were also showing off their dance moves! I don't know how everyone participating kept their energy levels up - I would say it took them about 4/5 to travel the circuit!
We enjoyed a moonlit picnic of rice, fish, popadoms and dhal curry after before walking around and exploring what else was going on. There was a lot of Buddhist shrines and 2 or 3 temple. For one particular shrine, there was a queue of about 2miles of people waiting to enter with their offerings, many of whom offered fruit baskets. They bring an offering as a symbol of "I give you this, so I want you to bless me in this way". As well as the places to worship there were loads of stalls selling everything from jewelry, flowers, toys to cd's and food.
We left around 1am and got back at 2am. Needless to say the journey back was very quiet as we were all absolutely exhausted! No doubt today everyone will be taking it easy and relaxing. I'm preparing the exam papers. The exams were supposed to happened next week, but as far as I can tell they have had to be postponed until the following week, this is because the school exams are happening next week and may children may not be with us as the time overlap. I didn't get it clarified so I'll prepare them for next week just in case!
There was a slight similarity  between Kataragama and Belfast in that a few lambeg type drums were spotted!!
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