Monaragala District is located 254 km East of Colombo and consists of 5,639sq km or 8.6 percent area of the country. The District has enjoyed an economic growth of 2.5 per cent sustained by vibrant private sector activity. It has been a strategic location in the Uva Province.
The people of the District indulge themselves in many forms of art such as dancing, music or painting. Kataragama a favourite pilgrimage location visited by Sri Lankans of all religions is an important destination to foster reconciliation and peace. Monaragala is a tropical land of legendary beauty with a civilization dating back 2,500 years. It has many places of interest such as the Maligawila Buddha statue carved in 600 A.D, Yudaganava Viharaya and the bustling cities of Monaragala, Buttala and Kataragama. Geographic diversity gives Monaragala a rich wild life resource.
Little visited by foreign tourists, Buduruwagala boasts seven colossal rock-cut figures that are said to date from the 10th century. Carved in low relief, the impressive sculptures belong to the Mahayana school of Buddhism, which enjoyed royal patronage between the 3rd and 10th centuries AD. In the centre is a 16 m high standing Buddha in the abhaya mudra flanked on either side by a group of three sculptures. The central of three figures to the Buddha’s right is thought to represent Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattvaof compassion in Mahayana Buddhism. He can be identified by the image of the meditating Buddha on the crowns he wears. The figure still bears orange paint around the head and white stucco on the body; all other sculptures may originally have been decorated in a similar fashion. The female figure to the right is thought to be the Mahayana goddess, Tara. Among the group of figures to the left of the Buddha, the one in the centre is believed to be Maitreya, the fifth and future Buddha. The sculpture to his left depicts the Tibetan bodhisattva Vajrapani, holding a thunderbolt symbol, while the figure to his right is thought to be Vishnu.
Sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike, Kataragama is one of the most revered places of pilgrimage in Sri Lanka. The town, named after the guardian deity of Sri Lanka, is busiest during the annual Kataragama Festival, but pilgrims come here year-round.
The sacred precinct, dotted with shrines and religious buildings, is located to the north of Kataragama. It is separated from the town by the Menik Ganga river, which is place of ablution where pilgrims purify themselves before continuing on their way. The streets surrounding the precinct are lined with stalls selling fruit platters, lotus buds and garlands to take to the temples. On entering, visitors will first come across the ul-Khizr mosque,which houses tombs of Muslim saints. Adjacent to the mosque is a small kovildedicated to Shiva. A series of other minor shrines line the avenue that leads to the Maha Devale- themain complex. Inside are three shrines, one of which is dedicated to the god Kataragama, also known as Skanda or Kartikeya. However, the god is not represented by an image but by his principal symbol, a vel (spear. The other adjacent shrines are dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesha, and the Buddha.
The wall surrounding the main courtyard is decorated with impressive elephant heads and images of the peacock, Kataragama’s vahana (vehicle). According to legend, the peacock sprang from the body of a demon who was defeated but spared by the god, after which the bird promised to serve the merciful Kataragama as his mount. The precinct comes alive during the evening puja,with queues of supplicants heading fruit platters and other offerings.
Galoya National Park
Covering an area of 540-sq km, the picturesque dry-zone reserve of Gal Oya is situated in a part of Sri Lanka little visited by tourists. At the centre of the park is the Senanayake Samudra, a vast reservoir that was created in 1948. The park itself was established in 1954 to protect the catchment area around this body of water. Dotted with many small islands, the reservoir is one of the largest lakes in Sri Lanka.
A number of water birds can be spotted around the reservoir, including the white-bellied fish eagles, the rare painted francolin, Layard’s parakeet and Indian nightjars, and it is also possible to catch sight of elephants on the islands. In addition, grey langurs, wild boar, water buffaloes and deer can also be seen in the park. It is possible to tour the park in the jeep but travelers are recommended to take a boat trip to see the islands on the reservoir. Among the highlights is the appropriately site where the dense forest cover and rocky outcrops are home to a huge diversity of birds.
Sri Lanka Dream Tours organize various tour activities that includes folk dance & music program, local house visits, local market visits, dinner or lunch with a local family of the area and much more like this. These activities are organized as part of your tour program and gives real experience of India to any guest visiting India with us.