Kataragama Temple is one of the most popular places of worship in Sri Lanka. The site is frequented by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims as well as the indigenous community of the country. The temple complex is dedicated to Kataragama deviyo as well as to the Hindu war god Murugan. The religious site is among the top places to visit in Kataragama when embarking on religious and cultural tours.
The temple’s main festivals and rituals have been shaped by the traditions of the ancient Veddas. The main festival of the temple is the Esala Perahera which takes place in annually in the months of July and August. Firewalking is performed by the pilgrims during the festival as acts of devotion. Body piercings as well as dance acts called ‘kawadi’ dances also performed by the devotees during the colourful festival.