|The ancient shrine called “Siyabalape Devala” at Kebaliththa|
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|
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|
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.
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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