Believed to be the spiritual retreat of the God ‘Kataragama’, a divine power, who is believed to be endowed with life changing powers, Maha Siyambalawa Devalaya of Kebilitta is in the midst of a great jungle in the sector four of Yala National Wild Life Park.Yet its’ difficult location or the dangerous journey to the devalaya had not disheartened the devotees who gather in hundred seeking blessings and favors. The journey itself is a test of one’s self and belief and preparations are made weeks before the pilgrimage. Abstinence is a must. One has to be a complete vegetarian for at least seven days prior to the journey.
Furthermore, one needs to control one’s temper, refrain from using harsh words, lead a life of simplicity and not talk about the pending travel. The journey to the shrine falls though the rough terrains of Yala and across Kumbukkan Oya, where at the crossing stands a small shrine dedicated to Goddess Pattini. Traditionally a lamp is lit every time a pilgrim crosses the river requesting safe journey and protection. Offering of rice, fruits, beverage and flowers are prepared on the banks of the river before proceeding to the shrine lighting the way with oil lamps from the Bodhi tree to the shrine.The Tamarind tree at the shrine is small that it looks like just a plant. Yet according to the legends the tree had stood on site for many years but had remained the same in size. The massive Tamarind tree at the shrine, the original home of God Kataragama. However, over the years the lighting of the oil lamps had had its toll on tree and what remains today is a sapling, which had stopped growing after a few years. After the first tree was destroyed it is said that God Kataragama had chosen a second tamarind tree, which standstall and alone in a small clearance a distance away from the main shrine. At the back of the tree, the surface of the bark was formed depicting an sketch of God Kataragama, a deity with six faces and 12 arms, missing is his weaponry and finery , a deity in the stance of deep meditation.
Things To Do: Pilgrimage
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