Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Visit the Ancient and Mysterious “Siyabalape Devala”,Kebaliththa(Yala National Park)

Here we are ready today, to share the 3rd article of Yala adventure series. We discussed the reaching routes to Kebaliththa, Preparations before visiting ‘Siyabalape Devala’ sacred shrine in the previous articles. This is the 2nd article about The sacred ‘Siyabalape Shrine Land’ at Kebaliththa. As we promised, today I am going to reveal the miracles at Devala, and Pooja Customs in the shrine. Today lets continue from the point of preparing the sacred Pooja for God Skandakumar, how to worship the god and amazing facts about this Pooja customs.

Preparation of the Pooja Offerings to God

Clean Water Pits
This is how the sacred Pooja was prepared. The sacred shrine of Kebaliththa has its unique and distinguished customs of preparing and arranging the holy offerings. The ultimate purity is considered as an essential need. Even the preparation should be done with great sense of respect and sacred mind to God Skandakumar. Mr. Madhushan guided us explaining how to arrange the Pooja from the beginning till the end, using his past experiences of this custom.

As the first thing, we had to dig 7 clean pits on the riverbank of ‘Kumbukkan Oya’. Each had to be dug by hand to ensure the purity. After that these had to be carefully covered with tree leaves and branches, ensuring the pits will be clean and away from dirt, animals and tree leaves. This is done to get the purest portion of water of the river, used for Pooja preparation.

The next step is the preparation of sacred offering to God(Pooja). Most of you must have heard of the unique offering of alms called ‘PaniBath’ or ‘Muruthan Bath’, which is a special meal prepared only as a devotion to sacred Gods or to Lord Buddha during holy consecrations. We are now ready to prepare the sacred offering ‘Pani Bath’.

The hearth is made with 3 stones and a canopy to respect the holiness of this preparation. The members taking part of this process should be careful to cover the face to avoid mixing any unclean material to the meal. This holy meal to God is a mixture of cooked rice, Sugar, Jaggery ,Green Grams and Plums. This holy meal has an extremely rich taste. This meal is then arranged to clean bowls and covered.
'Pani Bath' Preparation

Pooja Fruits Arrangement
Now we should arrange the sacred offering of fruits. This tray is made of 9 or 12 varieties of fruits. The devotees should cover the faces with gags before touching the fruits. (See the pictures). The betel leaves are arranged around the tray in a traditional pattern as seen on the picture. The varieties of fruits are cleaned with saffron mixed water and placed on the plate full of betel leaves, along with joss sticks , camphor and other offerings devoted in these Pooja.

Now it is the time to offer and devote this Pooja to God Skandakumar.

Consecration of the Pooja to God

Ready to Devote the Offerings
After the preparation of Pooja, we got cleaned ourselves again from the Kumbukkan Oya, bathing and dressing in full white clothes. Please make sure to wear a pure white dress like a sarong. It is said in the past that none of the women have visited this sacred land, however if a woman joins the occasion, it is suitable to wear a pure clean and white dress decent enough for a sacred offering at a religious Place. For gents, it is a custom be bear bodied and wear a traditional sarong. (You may have a similar experience, if you have been to the Kovil at Nalloor )

The Devala is situated 100 Metres away from the place we prepared the Pooja. As Buddhists we first did the offerings of flowers and lighting the oil lamps to the ancient Bo Tree resembling Lord Buddha, at Siyabalape before initiating the Pooja. holding the Pooja prepared , we headed to the Sacred shrine ‘Siyabalape Devala’, with the blesses of triple gems in hearts.
Bo Tree

The Shrine is extremely holy and mystic. The land is filled with absolute silence. You may experience such a spiritual feeling, rare, holy and godly and will never forget it for your lifetime. As we see in most of the other shrines devoted for gods, here you never see the dark chambers dedicated for gods, trance dances, brutalized chanting , prayers nor the collection boxes of donations.

As the folklore says, it is very hard to exclude the thought that the spirit of god Skandakumar still lives in this ancient sacred land. Indeed it is a land of God and holiness. We cleaned the sacred land and swept the shrine before the Pooja was offered. After that, we offered the Pooja to god Skandakumar, and prayed to god.

As an ancient custom, the devotees never turn back and walk away from the Shrine. Instead the devotees practice the custom of walking backwards to show the respect to the sacred land.

We worshipped the sacred Bo tree again and left the sacred land with full of holy thoughts towards God Skandakumar and lord Buddha.

Miracles at Kebaliththa

After the long discussion about the Pooja, let’s now share some amazing holy miracles about this ancient shrine. As the military soldiers around the land stated, one of the wild elephants seems to have a mystic relationship with this shrine. People call this giant “Devale Aliya’ (The elephant of the shrine). This giant seems to visit the shrine once or twice a week, and destroy all unnecessary constructions, re arrange and clean the sacred shrine before it leaves to jungle back. This is quite mystic and surprising how an elephant is devoted for the holiness of Devala, and respects the sacred Gods and Spirits in the land.

According to Mr.Madhushan, the devotees who are not serious about the customs, or the ones who visit the shrine without proper preparations, have had faced many unexplainable obstacles as a result of not showing respect towards the ancient sacred shrine. Overspillings of the Kumbukkan river, floods, missing the way towards shrine, getting lost in the jungle are some of the mystic interruptions such pilgrims have faced.

We returned from the holy shrine , with the hearts filled with sacred thoughts towards the amazing land of God Skandakumar. We kindly advice you not to test, challenge or experiment the powers of holy Gods and spirits, if you choose to visit this ancient Shrine ‘Siyabalape Devela’ at Kebaliththa.

This is one rare chance to visit a holy land where gods still live, feel the blesses of gods and an unforgettable experience of Sri Lankan customs while traveling.

If you need further assistance and guidance , Please call us on +94714449162, +94112178209 or email us to abeetha@explorelankainternational.com

See you soon ,with another exciting tour destination ! :-)


  1. Thank you , we are planing to go on next 31st may.

  2. Please make sure when devotees are preparing all poojas, MURUTHAN BATHA, etc.. should be prepared with holy and should wear proper attires (Pure White)

    P.S. Site Administrator :
    Please remove those photos and put photos having proper attires for the sake of God You should pay respect to the God Murugan in a proper way