The story of Kataragama – the origins of how the town was named

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The God Kataragama is greatly venerated in by both Buddhists and Hindus in Sri Lanka. Situated approximately 19km inland from Tissamaharama, lies a small town named after the God Kataragama. Hundreds are seen coming on pilgrimage to this place to pray and worship.

Image Credit-Michael CoghlanTemple InteriorCC BY-SA 2.0

Kataragama in India

The story of Kataragama begins in India. He lived in India with his wife Tevanai. One day, the couple had a misunderstanding and Kataragama decided to leave Tevanai. He left the shores of India and sailed across the seas to the land of Ceylon.

Kataragama comes to Sri Lanka

The waves eventually carried the boat towards Dondra where he first stepped foot on the shores of Sri Lanka. From here Kataragama made his way inland and found himself on a hill called Veddahundkanda. Here he lived here in solitude.

Kataragama and Walliamma

One day, while hunting, Kataragama met the adopted daughter of the tribe of people who lived nearby called the Veddhas. Kataragama was intrigued by her and made a marriage proposal to her. Walliamma, however, was not keen on the idea and refused him. Then, Kataragama was greatly distressed and decided to seek help from his brother, Ganesh.

Convincing Walliamma

The very next day, Kataragama, disguised as a Brahmin appeared to Walliamma asking her for some scraps of food. She agreed and bought the old Brahmin some food, but the elderly man said that he needed some water to drink before he had his meal. Walliamma then agreed to show him the way to the well. On their way, they encountered an elephant. She clung to the Kataragama and asked him to protect her. He said he would do so if she married him.

The Shrines

Today the pilgrims from everywhere come to visit the shrine of Kataragama that now exists here. There are plenty of accommodation options such as Mandara Rosen Kataragama, which is one of the best hotels in Kataragama that have propped up to match the growing demand.

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+

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