Kataragama is situated 228km south of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. It is one of the 16 principal places of Buddhist Pilgrimage sites that should be visited according to the great chronicle of Sri Lankan history. Katharagama is famous for the Hindu Shrine and Dagaba (Buddhist Pagoda- Kirivehera). Lord Buddha on his 3rd and the last visit to Sri Lanka were believed to have met the King Mahasena who ruled over the Katharagama area in 580 BC. Thus the Sri Lankans believe that Katharagama was sanctified by Lord Buddha.
The Kirivehera Dagaba which stands in close proximity to the Devale was built by King Mahasena. According to the legend, the King met the Lord Buddha and listened to the Buddha’s discourse and as a token of gratitude; the Dagaba was built on that exact spot where the discourse was held.
Katharagama God is indigenous and long celebrated in Sri Lankan lore and legend, and originally resides on the top of mountain called Waedahiti Kanda just outside of the Katharagama town. Since ancient times an inseparable connection between the God and his domain has existed. God Katharagama is popularly known among the Hindus as God Skanda and Sivaites of South India call the God Subramanya.
Katharagama is a Multi-Religious sacred city as it contains an Islamic Mosque within its Devale complex as well. From July to August each year it holds its annual festival that celebrates the God’s courtship and marriage to a Vedda Princess.
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