Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Journey to Kathirgaamam...!!!
Journey to Kataragama
Kataragama belongs to the ancient Rohana Kingdom and it is an old village situated close to the Menik Ganga. According to present provincial borders it comes under the Monaragala district. According to Pali scriptures Kataragama is mentioned as Kacharagama
It is one of the 16 principal places of Buddhist pilgrimage to be visited. According to the great chronicle, the Mahawansa, when the Bo-sapling (Bodhi tree under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in Buddha Gaya in North India 2550 years ago) was brought to Anuradhapura from India 2300 years ago, warriors from Kataragama were present on the occasion to pay homage and respect.
Kataragama is famous for the Hindu Shrine (Devala) and Dagoba (Buddhist - Pagoda).
God Kataragama is depicted either with six heads and 12 hands, or one head and 4 hands. His ‘vehicle’ is the peacock, which is native to Sri Lanka and India.
In spite of the differences of caste and creed, all Sri Lankans show great reverence to God Kataragama. They honour him as a very powerful deity and beg divine help to overcome their personal problems or for success in business enterprises etc., with the fervent hope that their requests would be granted. They believe that god Kataragama actually exists and is vested with extraordinary power to assist those who appeal to him with faith and devotion in times of distress or calamity.
Kataragama is a multi-religious sacred city as it contains an Islamic Mosque within its Devale complex as well. It holds its annual festival which celebrates God’s courtship and marriage to princess Valli from July to August.
The Menik Ganga
The Menik Ganga which rises in the Namunukula range of mountains is closely associated with Kataragama. It is a ritual for all pilgrims who intend to go to Kataragama to purify themselves by bathing in the Menik Ganga before they enter the sacred Devale.
According to Hindu mythology this area is supposed to be the abode of God Skanda and his Goddess Valli. God Skanda had come to Sri Lanka from S. India where he was known as Subramania. The people of India were not paying homage to him since he was rather playful. Therefore, he had decided to take up abode in Kalutara (Chelapura) in Sri Lanka, where God Skanda’s brother, God Ganesha wanted to scare Valli. It was Skanda who rescued her, at Sella Kataragama which is als known as Small Kataragama. Sella Kataragama which is a beautiful spot situated about 6 km’s away from Kataragama on the banks of the Menik Ganga.
The fire walking ceremony takes place on the 13th day of the annual Kataragama festival. Devotees abstain from eating meats to participate in the perahera and walk on embers to test their faith.