“Kataragama'' a name synonymous with belief, faith and devotion. A place of mysterious background where devotees from all corners of Sri Lanka showing no signs of pride or prejudice come to ask Kataragama Deviyo ( translating to god of kataragama) and the hindu war god murugan for favors. These favours are mostly bound by promise to be repaid.
During the peak season it’s not uncommon to see hundreds upon hundreds of devotees packing all corners of the temple grounds bearing offerings of fruit baskets laden with fruit and lined with a cash offering. The sound of coconuts crashing to the ground with devotees chanting prayers are a common sight with the occasional extreme devotee putting his body through mortal pain hoodwinked by the notion of immortal satisfaction of gods. A highlight of this devotion is the annual foot pilgrimage made by devotees hundreds of kilometres away, converging to the temple grounds after a quick was in the river that flows bordering the sacred grounds.
Traditional foot-pilgrimage is not, as many people believe, a peace march, but an annual re-enactment of episodes related as legend and myth about Kataragama temple. Simple, ordinary people who say they have received a 'call', take part in this marathon walk.
Leaving everything behind but a bundle of essentials, they experience the homeless life of a poor or religious recluse. Deep lessons about the paradoxes of life are driven into them in a sustained act of self-denial. They started their pilgrimage from Mamanga pillayar temple and walk through the villages of Kallady kanthaswamy kovil, Arayampathy kanthaswamy kovil, Mandur Murugan temple, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Kirankulam, Kurukkalmadam, Thettativu, Pattirupu, Kalmunai, Karaitivu kannaki temple, Ugantha /okanda murugan temple and panama. Then they finally reach Katharagama murugan temple. These are the factors of Pada Yatra that make it such an intense spiritual opportunity for those who receive the 'call'. The pilgrimage to Kataragama starts in June and ends in July.