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With a history of over 400 years, the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu is the holiest catholic shrine in the island. It is regarded as a symbol of unity and peace among all diverse ethnicities.
The Portuguese first introduced Catholicism to Sri Lanka in the 16th century, bringing in the statue of Mary. In the 17th century, when the Dutch invaded Sri Lanka, Christians were forced to flee as they were persecuted. However, a group of Catholics managed to build a small shrine from clay for the statue, and overtime it developed into a major pilgrimage destination and place of worship for devotees across the country.
This divine place of worship is a famous attraction among locals for its many beliefs associated with the statue. The most commonly known is the miraculous healing powers of the statue with the ability to cure many diseases such as snake bites.
The shrine celebrates several festivals throughout the year, drawing in hundreds of believers from around the country. The Madhu Feast attracts one of the largest crowds, as it honors the day of Assumption of Mother Mary into heaven. The feast is held annually on August 15th.
Daily masses are held on weekdays at 6 a.m. in Tamil and 7.00 a.m. in Sinhala. On weekends, the mass is held at 11.15 a.m. in both Tamil and Sinhala.