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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 5 things to do in Kataragama - Ins and outs of this sacred city
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Top 5 things to do in Kataragama - Ins and outs of this sacred city

Kataragama is a popular place among the Sri Lankans. Being a place of pilgrimage for all the major religions of the country, like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, the place attracts many locals, tourists and pilgrims throughout the year. You'll witness thousands of pilgrims from various religions coming to pay their respects in Kataragama. Being a multi-religious sacred city, Kataragama offers a range of religious sites, stupas, temples and mosques to be visited.

1

Maha Devale

Maha Devale is a very important shrine in Kataragama showing the lance of the Hindu war god Murugan. Many pilgrims offer their daily puja at 4.30am, 10.30am and 6.30pm. Right outside this amazing shrine, you'll witness two large boulders. Don't be surprised to see pilgrims' smash coconuts while reciting prayers. This is part of the ritual of the temple. For accommodation check out some of the best hotels in Kataragama in the likes of Mandara Rosen Kataragama for a good experience.

2

Kataragama Perehera

This is a must see! The Kataragama Perehera is a parade that travels through the roads of the town. This is in honour of the Kataragama Deviyo, also known as god Skanda. Many devotees and visitors of the town gather around to watch in bewilderment this amazing parade. The elephants take centre stage. And there are other spectacular regional dancers, fire walkers and eaters, singers and musicians. Besides, there are jugglers and acrobats adding to the wonderful performance. The colourful and vivid parade will leave you enchanted and open-mouthed in amazement. The Kataragama perehera takes place usually in the months of July or August which lasts for about two weeks. So, there's no reason to miss out on it when travelling during these months to Sri Lanka.

3

Kirihara

If you're a history buff and want to explore some impressive ancient structures, then the Kirivehera is a must visit. The Kirivehara is a 29-metre white dagoba which was built during the time of the great King Mahasena (AD 276–303). During his reign, many constructions took place, including the Jetavanarama Dagoba in Anuradhapura and many extraordinary tanks.

4

Ul-Khizr Mosque

Ul-Khizr is a significant complex in the lives of the Muslims of the country. It is a beautiful mosque showcasing some of the most intricate tile work and wooden lintels. The mosque houses the shrine of two holy men who hailed from Central Asia and India. The tombs are visited by the Muslims and others for spiritual assistance and tourists visit to marvel at the beauty of the coloured architectural intricacy. The place is known as the heart of the Sufis attracting large crowds from many parts of the world.

5

Kataragama Museum

To explore Sri Lankan culture and heritage, there is no better place to go to than the Kataragama museum. This museum boasts of some rare and amazing collection of religious relics and items tied to Buddhism and Hinduism. On top of that, the museum has huge fibreglass statues that are actually replicas of numerous important statues around Sri Lanka.

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