This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Kataragama. To help you make friends with Kataragama before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Kataragama is one of the holiest towns in the whole of Sri Lanka, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. It is venerated in religions like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism. The town is known for its many temples, kovils, and mosques. The indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka also revere this town and its many religious sites and ruins because of its significance in history. You can get accommodation at one of the many hostels in and around Kataragama when you stay here, but watch out for fully booked places. Get a hostel before you arrive for the smoothest experience here.
The religious temple complex of Kataragama is the first and best place to visit here. While local history states that the first official building was built by a Sri Lankan king in the second century BC, the site dates back much further in history than this. It is known for the thousands of people of all religions and races who visit here, which is why the hostels in the city are almost always full.
If you plan on visiting Kataragama, try to visit in the months of July and August. During this time, the Hindu people celebrate a festival and pilgrimage that lasts a fortnight. The town is very busy at this time, so do not visit if you do not like crowds. Hostels will typically be unavailable or overpriced during festival days, so pre-booking is highly recommended.
Whenever you do visit, check out the many shrines within the temples here, most of which have artifacts going back centuries. The Kirivehera Stupa and the Maha Devalaya are two such sites. If you want a more natural sight, though, you should visit the Kataragama town center and take a taxi to Sella Kataragama, a small village nearby. It is filled with tamarind trees and local legends, including stories of the local god and his trysts beneath the trees.
Written by local enthusiast for Kataragama hostelsJakob Lombardi