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More than anything Kataragama is known for the Kataragama temple, a temple dedicated to the resident six-faced, twelve-armed god Kataragama who rides a peacock with two wives. Kataragama Deviyo is one of the most holy gods in Sri Lanka. Among Buddhists he is a guardian of Buddhism, among Hindus he is the god of war. Hindus or Tamils also call him Skanda Kumara or Murugan. It is a must visit place to experience how devotees from different cultures, and various parts of the island pay their respects to the god.
Many believe that the temple was built by King Dutugemunu in 2nd-century BC, while there are many others who believe that the temple has been there even before that. However it is the single most holy place among Buddhists, Catolicos, Hindus, Muslims and Veddah people in Sri Lanka.
Kavadi Dancing is a special form of paying tribute and worship in gratitude for fulfilled vows at Kataragama. People who perform Kavadi go through an extensive preparation, which includes prayers and fasting for a certain period of time. They carry Kavadis which are decorated with colorful close, peacock feathers on their shoulders and dance to the unique Kavadi music.
When you reach Kataragama you’d notice there are a lot of vendors selling various types of items to offer at the temple, including flowers, incense sticks, fruits and sweets. It is a ritual among most Sri Lankans that they take these offerings in a plate and walk up to the Maha Devalaya (Main Kataragama Shrine) and offer to the God. Once they offer, they receive a portion of the fruits and sweets which they share with everyone within the temple premises.
Be sure to wear the Vatican dress code when going to Kataragama. Poojah times are 5.00 AM (excluding Saturdays), 10:30 AM and 7.00 PM.