Sri Lanka – Kataragama

The jungle shrine of Kataragama in southeastern Sri Lanka has long been a place of special interest to Indian travelers especially from Tamil nadu.

Kataragama is one of the three important ancient places of Hindu worship which lies in the same meridian 81°10’, the other two being Uttara Kailasa (Mount Kailas) and Dakshina Kailasa  Tirukkoneswaram of Trincomalee). The three aspects of a Hindu place of worship, namely moorthy (deity) sthala (place) and theerta (water body) are all well set by Nature at Kataragama.

The temple:

Almost all the shrines are nondescript small rectangular buildings without any ornamentation. There is no representative of deities adorning the outside of the buildings. This is in contrast to any other Hindu temple in Sri Lanka or India. Almost all shrines are built of stone except that one dedicated to Valli which shows timber construction. They have been left as originally constructed and there are not any plans to improve upon them, because people are reluctant to tamper with the original shrine complex.

The Deity:

Kataragama has an amazing ambience. The atmosphere is filled with mystery and magic. Countless miracles keep taking place here. The main temple has two apartments. The sanctum sanctorum is heavily veiled with seven curtains. It does not have an idol of Kataragama. Instead it has a casket, which contains the mysterious yantra (mystic diagram), which is embossed on a golden tablet studded with gems. This is where the divine power is supposed to reside. The Lord in his nada bindu form (form of letters and sound) is enshrined in the yantra. The yantra at Kataragama is a charged instrument that emanates spiritual vibrations which help to rebuild the dilapidated and distorted astral body of the pilgrims.

Kataragama is a veritable spiritual power house from which millions of devotees draw their spiritual sustenance. This accounts for the universality of worship at Kataragama.

How to reach:

Till very recent times the only way to reach Kataragama was by foot. The path led through thick equatorial jungle, infested with snakes and wild animals. It was not an easy pilgrimage but Only the intrepid and the faithful could make this hazardous journey and return home alive. Even today there are a few people who still follow this ancient trail and go on foot. Now of course the town has been connected by road to all major cities of Sri Lanka so most people prefer the safe method of going by some motor vehicle. And for reaching by Motor Vehicle, you need to obtain a permit from the local police station. Without that your Motor Vehicle won’t be allowed. However, you can park the vehicle and walk to the temple.

Even in this age of scepticism, Kataragama is an extraordinary place where strange things happen which appear to defy the laws of science. Most Hindus believe that the pilgrimage to Kataragama is feasible only if Murugan himself issues an invitation.Feeling pround that I was lucky enough to visit this temple and got the blessings of Kataragama and  Wishing all the readers good luck to experience the same.

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