An ancient city revered by several religions
With references in the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle of the Mahavamsa, the town of Kataragama holds a wealth of history. Beyond its repute as an ancient capital for rulers of the Ruhuna kingdom, Kataragama also served as a place of refuge for northern kings who fled from South Indian invasions of their lands. More importantly however, the town is revered for the Kataragama Deviyo, or God of Kataragama – a deity worshipped across multiple faiths. For Buddhists, the Kiri Vehera dagoba is situated on the site where the Lord Buddha once visited, while a Bo tree grown from a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura is also found on the grounds of the famed Kataragama Temple. Here, Hindus worship the resident deity as Katirkamam – the God of War, also known as Murugan. Additionally, the indigenous Veddas of Sri Lanka have also long venerated the God of Kataragama as a guardian deity of the island.
Kataragama is located one hour away from Jetwing Safari Camp by road. From our home in the Southern Province, the journey takes you into the neighbouring Uva Province at the foot of Sri Lanka’s central highlands. Kataragama sits at the provincial border, on the edge of Yala National Park’s northwestern entrance, with long roads lined with shady trees that lead pilgrims and travellers alike to the many religious attractions in the area.