Kataragama temple is located in Sri Lanka, kataragama town.Kataragama temple is dedicated to the Buddhist guardian deity katargama deviyo and hindu war god Murugan.It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka which is venerated by the Buddhist,hindus,Muslims people.In past it was jungle shrine very difficult to access but today it is accessible by an all weather road. The shrines and near by kiri vehera are managed by the Buddhists.The shrines of Teyanai and shiva are managed by the Hindus and the mosque managed by Muslims.
The Shrine has for centuries attracted tamil hindus from sri lanka and south india since the latter half of the 20th century. The site has risen dramatically among Buddhists who today constitute majority of the visitors. The cult of Katargama deviyo has become most popular amongst the Sinhalese people. A number of legends and myths are associated with the deity and the location which all are differing by religion.
The priests of the temple are known as kapuralas and it is believed to be descended from vedda people.Veddas also have a claim on temple.Near by mountain peak and locality through a number of legends.The temple complex is also connected to other similar temples in eastern province which is dedicated to the Murugan.In south of the island Arunagirinathar traversed this pilgrimage route in the 15th century.The entire complex was declared a holy place by the government of Sri Lanka in 1950.Then political leaders have contributed for its maintenance and upkeep.
There are number of theories behind the origin of the shrine. As per Heinz Bechert and paul younger the mode of veneration and rituals are connected with the katargama deviyo is a survival of vedda mode of veneration that preceded by the arrival of Buddhist and indo-aryan cultural in the last centuries BCE.Hindus,Buddhist and even muslims have tried to co-opt the diety .
As per s.pathmanathan the original kataragama shrine was established as an guardian deity shrine to skanda-kumra within a Buddhist temple complex.Then this shrine become idealized as very spot amongst the local tamils and Sinhalese .
Different Evidence for Kataragama Temple
The first literary mention of kataragama in context of a sacred place to kanfha-murugan in the 15th century poems of arungirinathar.Traditions clams that he visited the forest shrine before he composed the poems.
The temple has number of ancient ruins and inscriptions.Based on dated inscriptions found near by the kiri vehera is believed to have been built or renovated around the 1st century BCE.
The festivals and daily rituals do not based on standard Hindu or Buddhist rituals.Which follows the Paul younger calls as ancient vedda traditions of worships.
The main festivals is known as Esela perehera.This festival is celebrated during the months of July and august about 45 days.
Kataragama temple Darshan Timing
|MONDAY||4:30 A.M TO 11 P.M|
|TUESDAY||4:30 A.M TO 11 P.M|
|WEDNESDAY||4:30 A.M TO 11 P.M|
|THURSDAY||4:30 A.M TO 11 P.M|
|FRIDAY||4:30 A.M TO 11 P.M|
|SATURDAY||9:30 A.M TO 11:30 P.M|
|SUNDAY||4:30 A.M TO 11.00 P.M|