Kebiliththa Devalaya

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Ishan Weerasiri - Google

Kataragama Deviyo is one of the holiest Gods dedicated to protect Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The Devalaya (shrine) is situated on the banks of Manik Ganga (Manik River). The Kebiliththa Devalaya is believed to be the current territory of Kataragama Deviyo. There are no buildings in the shrine, but an aged 9 feet tamarind tree where Kataragama Deviyo rests. Prior to visiting this sacred place devotees prepare for weeks or months by doing regular poojahs, taking blessings and preventing any animal food products, liquor and smoking. It is strongly believed if otherwise they would not be able to make it to the sacred place and encounter various dangers. The route to get to the devalaya is one of the toughest, through the thick jungles of Yala block IV, muddy areas, crossing rivers and so on.

According to folklore, the area is guarded by the spirit of Kebiliththe Rala. Around 1602 during the Dutch rule, custodians of the Kataragama main shrine decided to collect all the valuables of the Kataragama Shrine and hide them in Kebiliththa in order to protect them from Dutch. However after getting information about Kebiliththa the Dutch took on a mission to acquire all valuables hidden in Kebiliththa. Kebiliththe Rala, the custodian of Kebiliththa fought against the Dutch and single handedly killed about 10 Dutchmen but also died in fighting. However his spirit is still believed to be guarding the Kebiliththa shrine. 

There is an ancient Bodhi tree and granite pillars in the surrounding. There hasn’t been any archaeological excavation done in this area. 

Kebiliththa doesn't attract a lot of visitors compared to the main Kataragama Shrine, mostly due to the higher beliefs and requiring a lot of preparation and effort to reach the shrine.