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Katharagama temple in Sri Lanka which is situated in Uva province in Katharagama area is a holy place where Hindus and Buddhists worship the god Katharagama also known as Skandhakadhakumaru. At first, Kataragama temple was famous only among the Sri Lankan and south Indian Tamils, but nowadays it is significant among Sinhalese as well.
The legend of God Katharagama
Even though there’s no direct encouragement given in Buddhism to worship Gods, Sri Lankan Buddhists worship this god as an indigenous god. According to Sinhala legends, God Katharagama was a king ruled in the exact place where the Temple is situated now. It was stated in the Sinhala folklore. He was famous as king Mahasen at the time of his reign. And it was during his reign when Lord Buddha came to Sri Lanka for the last time. It was stated that KatharagamaKirivehera was built, to commemorate the place where Lord Buddha had Stayed, by him. It was also stated that King Mahasen has ascertained Lord Buddha’s preaching and has asked for a lock of hair in order to build and bestow it in Kirivhera stupa. When the time passed by King Mahasen had one wish he would like to fulfil and that is to be reborn with some force so that he would be able to protect Kirivehera and Ashtapalabodhiya. It is believed as mentioned in the folklore, corresponding with that wish Kandhasurindhun was born at the Saravana lake abiogenetically. And also, according to the legends, king Mahasen’s wife was reborn as wallidevi in a meadow.
Kirivehera is an ancient stupa close to Katharagama Temple which was built by King Mahasen in Kataragama area. It is 95 feet in height and 280 feet in circumference. It was built in 300 B.C. And lord buddha’s lock of hair was bestowed here.