Kiri Vehera temple is situated in Kataragama in Sri Lanka. It is believed to have been built by King Mahasena but some say that it was built by the Kshatriyas who accompanied King Vijaya or by prince Aggabodhi, King Devanampiyatissa’s younger brother’s son who ruled Magama during 3rd century BC.
Kiri Vehera is quiet popular among Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and indigenous Veddha communities of Sri Lanka even to South Indians. The specialty here is that there is a Ruhunu Maha Katharagama Devalaya which is a shrine dedicated to Katharagama deity which is also known as Skanda-Murukan by the 15th century.
The history of Katharagama goes a long way back. After a fierce war, King Dutugemunu defeated King Elara. The spymaster named Kadira who helped the war win became a respected citizen in Katharagama. He also helped the Sinhalese who sought him as a benefactor such that when he died the Sinhalese people elevated him to the status of a deity and built a shrine on behalf of him. Kadira was known as “Kadira Deviyo” but was later named as Katharagama Deviyo. Somehow the Tamils in the area didn’t accept him thus they made their god Skanda Kumar as the authoritative deity of the shrine.
First, take Katunayake- Colombo highway then take the Southern Expressway. You have to take the Kandasuridugama Raja Mawathato Kiri Vehara Mawatha in Katharagama to reach your destination.
Take Technical College Road to Colombo – Batticaloa Highway. Continue on Colombo – Batticaloa Highway, Colombo – Ratnapura – Wellawaya – Batticaloa Road. Take Badalkumbura – Buttala – Sella Kataragama Raod, Tissamaharama – Kataragama Road to Kirinda – Palatupana – Yala Road to reach your destination.
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