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Kataragama
Gods, Goats and Burning Coconuts

After Sri Pada, Kataragama is the second most sacred place in Sri Lanka, not least because according to legend the Buddha himself came here on his third and last visit to the island. The main Dagoba is apparently built on the spot where Lord Buddha met the local king.

From downtown Kataragama you can cross the river (Menik Ganga) on various footbridges and into the temple complex, the place does not really close but the ceremonial puja’s only take place daily at 04:30, 10:30 and 18:30, The evening session is arguably most atmospheric. The Kataragama festival takes place annually over two weeks in July and August, the precise date depends on the full moon,

Dress with respect, legs and shoulders should be covered and take your hat off. You will be expected to remove your shoes before entering the walled area, you can leave them with the blokes in the hut to the left of the arch for 50 rupees.

You and your donation (bring lots of small change) are welcome to visit all the Buddhist and Hindu areas but I was told that you are not welcome in the mosque if you are not of the Muslim faith.

To be honest the first part of the complex can be a bit of a religious theme park with blaring music, coloured lights, elephants and all the wonderful paraphernalia of eastern religious worship, there is all sorts going on and its usual quite loud. During festivals you get people walking on hot coals and others with hooks in their backs and skewers through various parts of their anatomy, people approaching the shrines on their knees and blokes smashing burning coconuts do not even get a second look. Things quieten down considerably as you approach the great Dagoba, where assorted gods are left behind and Buddha, bathed in incense and surrounded by offerings of flowers, sits in serene silence.

There are lots of animals around the place including monkeys and numerous lucky cows who have been saved from the butchers knife and retired to the temple grounds where they dine on the mountain of fruit brought to the temple as offerings to the Hindu deities (Buddha gets flowers and incense, both of which can be bought from the numerous stalls throughout the town and all along the route to the Dagoba).

The fish in the Menik Ganga are also protected creatures, there are lots of them and if you swim in the river you are liable to get well nibbled. Try not to get any water in your mouth either because pilgrims wash in the river on arrival at Kataragama before entering the complex making the water taste distinctly soapy.

Yala National Wildlife Park - Sri lanka

Yala national park one of the sri lanka's premier eco tourism destinations, lies 24 km northeast of tissamaharama and 290 km from colombo on the southeast coast of sri lanka. spanning a vast 97878 hectares over the southern and uva provinces.
The vegetation in the park comprises predominately of semi-arid thorny scrub, interspersed forest. Small patches of mangrove vegetation also occur along the coastal lagoons. the park is renowned for the variety of its wildlife (most notably its many elephants) and its fine coastline (with associated coral reefs). It also boasts large number of important cultural a ruins, bearing testimony to earlier civilizations and indicating that much of the area used to be populated and well developed. 
  

 

Bundala National Park - Sri Lanka

Bundala national park is a unique area. The thorny scrub jungle is home to spotted deer the rare pangolin and the playful grey longer monkey. A walk along the beach at dawn reveals unusual tracks in the sand. A sea turtle has come shore to lay her eggs during the night. The picturesque lagoons and inertial mud flats are alive with flashes of brilliant color as wintering birds arrive to nest and feed.
welcome to bundala, the world at the edge where the land, the sea and the wetlands meet. 
Bundala national park, covering an area of 6216 hectares of eco tourism appeal is located about 250 km southeast of colombo in the hambantota district. The park falls within the southeastern arid zone of the sri lanka with a general climate that can be classified as hot and dry. The terrain is generally flat with sand dunes bordering the coastline, and vegetation consists mainly of dry thorny scrublands and lagoons.
the bio diversity of this park is immense: A total of 383 plant species have been recorded from the park, including endemics and 7 species that are considered nationally threatened. 

 

 
 

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