Sunday, September 25, 2011

Visit the ancient and mysterious “Siyabalape Devala” shrine at Kebaliththa in Yala National Park.

The ancient shrine called “Siyabalape Devala” at Kebaliththa
We started an interesting discussion on Yala National Park from the previous article. Click here, to read the article 1 – Introduction to Yala National Park. Today I am going to reveal a hidden treasure inside Yala Park – the ancient shrine called “Siyabalape Devala” at Kebaliththa- a place considered very sacred by devotees. This is not very well known to and chosen by the most of the Yala visitors, only a few , devote for this rare pilgrimage to visit this invaluable sacred masterpiece related to Sri Lankan legendary Tale.

We rarely plan a trip to Yala without including Katharagama, as many Sri Lankans are devotees of God Katharagama or Buddhists who don’t want to miss Kirivehera Temple. Buddhists first visit the Kirivehera followed by the Katharagama ancient Devala. The shrine called “Siyabalape Maha Devala” once again has an Mysterious relationship with the God Katharagama (also known as God Skandakumar) and well known for miracles (“Haskam”). Here are some facts we explored during the visit to the shrine.

Thammita Bo Tree
According to ancient folklores, the God Katharagama or Skanda Kumar was known to be the past king Mahasen who reigned the southern part of the country(Ruhuna) in ancient times ( even before the time of Lord Buddha) . The ancient stories reveal that the king relinquished the kingdom and became a monk and left to a forest monastery for meditation. We eagerly wait to read the ancient folklores which you have heard of .

It is said that the Devala is built in the kingdom of God Katharagama. The place he met his goddess, “Valli Amma” was known as Sella Katharagama (Another sacred Devala situated near the Main shrine. The place the couple of God Katharagama and Goddess Valli Amma lived, is nowadays known as the ‘Vedahiti Kanda’ . Another folklore says that, When God Kathagama shot an arrow , it had fell on the land of Devala today.

Then why has the Kebaliththa shrine bulit? Have you ever heard of the death of the God Katharagama? As the folklore says, he is an eternal soul, never died, and he still meditates and stays at this ancient sacred land of Kebaliththa Devala.


Remember , You should not visit the shrine just for fun; you have to make it a pure pilgrim, respecting all traditional preparations and customs , before you enter the sacred land. You are supposed to abide few rituals and preparations to maintain a pure soul and a body before you start the journey. You should be pure vegetarian, should not have any alcohol, and live a pure spiritually clean life for 7 days before starting the pilgrimage. It is not a rule, a must, but a strict practice to show the respect towards the miraculous shrine and precaution to ensure the safe return with less harm during the journey with the bless of God Skandha Kumar. Remember to make sure you are clean and prepared for the sacred visit, otherwise the villagers believe that the pilgrims face lot of mystic troubles during the journey.

Route to travel

There are 4 main routes to reach this sacred shrine;

refreshments arranged at the Army camp -Kebaliththa
1. From Yala , Palatuwawa entrance; you may reach the shrine after passing the blocks 1 and 2. This trip is surrounded by mystic beauty of nature , not to mention the difficulty of the challenging and costly trip. Without a minimal number of two 4wheeled vehicles, You will not be permitted to enter the block 2 ,to make the journey through scary backwoods , needing to be more careful. And this is the road that takes the longest time to reach the Devala Land.

2. You can use an alternative way from the entrance of “Galge” , and reach the shrine through block 3. Since this is a newly built road, it is believed to be have a fast trip, minimally taking a day.

3. You have another entrance through Kotiyagala (Monaragala), crossing the Kumbukkan Oya. We advise you to avoid this route, since the safety is not guaranteed by the Wildlife authorities. 

4. You can use the entrance of Kumana Bird Reserve , passing the shrine called “Okanda” Devala. Again , you may cross the “Kumbukkan Oya” , to reach the sacred “Siyabalape Devala”. Most of the Hindu devotees use this route, during the Perahera Festival season of the ancient Kataragama Devala. I must say this is another option that you can enjoy the colourful nature , on the way to Siyabalape Devala.

Our journey

We chose the second route, the one towards “Galge” entrance for our pilgrimage. We hired a 4x4 vehicle from Katharagama and started the trip to Kebaliththa around 7.45 am. We should thank for the helpful guidance of Mr.Madhushan – an officer of Wildlife Authority. It was the 1st time our driver Mr.Prasanna took the Galge route Kebiliththa. We stopped the vehicle for the traditional custom of praying for a safe journey , to be blessed by the God Gambhara,by hanging a branch of a tree , starting the way to Kebaliththa. It is a tradition practiced by folks, when travelling through sacred lands of Gods. We entered the Yala Park , with the blessings of God and with a sacred mind. At the “Thammita” sacred Bo tree, we did the religious prayers, observed Pansil, worshipping flowers and headed to the way to Kebaliththa. We reached the sacred Kebaliththa Devala premises around 11am. Not to forget and we thank the refreshments arranged at the Army camp -Kebaliththa.

Oh, we just reached the sacred land of God Skanda , and the next article will be dedicated to reveal the Devala customs , Pooja, and the amazing events that took place during the stay at Kebaliththa .

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  1. Nicely written! You have provided us all the details such as the routes to kebaliththa, traditions and nice photos. We all should visit the devalaya as a pilgrimage and not for fun. Tanks a lot for the article and looking forward to the second part of the trip.

  2. most of our early sri lankan were very good. but nowadays they do not visit such places for pilgrimage. they need to go for fun too. I know that if people used to go there, this place also will be spoiled by the partly nude girls as well as drunken mad boys.

  3. Very Very Interesting article. Thanks.