No pada yatra for Kataragama Esala Festival | Daily News


No pada yatra for Kataragama Esala Festival

The traditional Pada Yatra of devotees for the Kataragama Esala Festival will not be held this year in view of the health regulations for controlling the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Basnayake Nilame of Ruhunu Kataragama Dilruwan Rajapaksa.

The kap planting ceremony for the forthcoming Esala Festival at Kataragama Devalaya was held at the auspicious time with the participation of the Basnayake Nilame and the Kapu Mahathmayas.

The annual Esala Festival will be held from July 21 and will come to a climax on August 3 with the holding of the maha perahera and the water-cutting ceremony at the Menik Ganga on August 4.

The Esala Festival is being held from ancient times to mark the wedding of God Skanda and Goddess Valli. The Pada Yatra pilgrims arrive at Kataragama for the Esala Festival through the Yala and Kumana national parks from Jaffna, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. Apart from Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims also participate in the Pada Yatra.

The chief Kapu Mahathmaya of the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya, Somapala Ratnayake said that all the rituals and religious activities pertaining to the Kataragama Esala Festival are being held from ancient days according to the orders given by King Dutugemunu.

He said that devotees from India also participate in the Esala Festival at Kataragama and added that in 1921 when the cholera epidemic spread throughout the length and breadth of the area, the annual Esala Festival was held without the participation of devotees.

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