- Encounters with locals
- Place or Religious Monument
Though this destination is well-known to all the different kinds of Sri Lankan pilgrims, tourists are rare in Kataragama. Add it to your Sri Lanka itinerary.
Kataragama is a place of worship dedicated to a protector god who provides protection for just about anything: people even bring their car registration plates to be blessed here. I had the great fortune of coming here when the puja festivals were taking place, with me the only tourist present.
I watched parades of elephants and also observed the Sri Lankans presenting offerings of flowers and fruit at the feet of the statues and getting a coloured mark placed on their foreheads. I also watched them cracking open coconuts and burning the oil, taking part in parades, singing and playing music, and all in a mood of a joyful exuberance and accompanied by the smell of incense.