Sacred town and South Coast

Trip Start Feb 02, 2013
Trip End Feb 24, 2013

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Had a second ayurvedic treatment this morning on my neck and back which is still extremely painful. Not a happy start to the day but luckily we don't have to do any climbing, hiking or trekking as I know I just would not be able to manage. Also we had a late start this morning which most people enjoyed as it gave us a bit of time just to absorb all the sight we have seen on this trip. It’s been amazing and trying to take it all in when you are bombarded every day with new things to see and do.

When we went to get on the bus we were all given a flower from Rushika – our helper on the tour – who is proving to be a gentle giant of a man. Have discovered that he is actually a rugby player (kind of explains his size) who plays for the Presidents team in Sri Lanka but is not in training due to injury. Our driver – Anushka- is also from the same village and got him the job of helping out on the tour. No wonder they are so familiar with each other and have such a great sense of camaraderie.

First stop this morning was the multi-religious place of worship that has made Kataragama famous. This town in regarded as a pilgrimage town that is sacred to Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and the indigenous Vedda people.

Kataragama - is one of the few places in Sri Lanka which is worshipped by most of the popular religious people in Sri Lanka. Kataragama is a multi-religious sacred town as it contains an Islamic Mosque within its temple complex as well. It is a holy place for Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus, and the sprawling religious complex across the Menik Ganga contain buildings of all three religions. It is difficult to sort fact from legend at Kataragama.
In spite of the differences of caste and creed, many Sri Lankans show great reverence to God Kataragama. They honor him as a very powerful deity and beg divine help to overcome their personal problems or for success in business enterprises etc., with the fervent hope that their requests would be granted. They believe that God Kataragama actually exists and is vested with extraordinary power to assist those who ever appeal to him with faith and devotion in times of their distress or calamity.

Leaving Kataragama we headed around the south coast of the island, through many small villages and then hit the only highway in SL…..what a surprise after the narrow, winding roads of the last 10 days or so. Found out that the road is being built by the Chinese and that the people of SL will be paying for it for the next 15 years!!!! Have to say if their road construction is anything like their housing construction it will be lucky to last that long…..think the Sri Lankan people have been shortchanged with this deal!!!  The road didn’t seem to go for very long and then we were back on the now familiar narrow roads as we headed into Galle – our stop for tonight. Along the way we saw where they do stilt fishing and met a few fishermen but unfortunately it was too rough to fish so we didn't get to see them in action.

Staying in a hotel which is a converted 19th century mansion overlooking the city of Galle which we will explore tomorrow.
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