Foot pilgrimage to Kataragama Chants of ‘Arohara’ on jungle route

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By 2017-07-17

By Our Ampara Correspondent

Following the ceremonial opening of the 'Gateway' of the Jungle Route to Kataragama (15 July) for the 'Pataha Yathra' pilgrims attending the Aadivel Festival in Kataragama, a large number foot pilgrims are seen in the jungle route chanting 'Arohara'.

The 'Theethotsavam' which is scheduled to commence on 23 July with the hoisting of the flag would end on 7 August with 'Theethotsavam'. As the jungle road is scheduled to be closed on 2 August, the foot pilgrims are advised to use this forest route only during this period, it was officially announced.

A large number of foot pilgrims, from various parts of the country, including Jaffna, are trekking this jungle route. The roads in the coastal areas of the Ampara District are also busy with many foot pilgrims.

Foreigners from various parts of the country, including devotees from different communities, are seen among the crowds during this season. Meanwhile, social welfare organizations are also on hand to treat the pilgrims. Arrangements are being made to provide all facilities to the pilgrims especially to those on foot by the coordinating Committee Office headed by the Additional Government Agent Vimalanathan.

The office housed at Uhandamalai Temple premises is a hive of activity from 13 July onward. According to the arrangements, pilgrims are provided with water, sanitary facilities, lighting and medical needs.

The medical personnel of Ampara, Kalmunai, Thirukkovil and Pottuvil would oversee the hygienic aspects in the surroundings of the Uhanda Kovil premises. Those who require the assistance of medical aid can always approach the medical centre which operates on a 24-hour basis.

The Kovil surroundings have been fully cleared by the volunteers to maintain the areas dengue free and the coordinating committee has appealed to the pilgrims to maintain cleanliness at all times.

Meanwhile, drinking water facilities for the pilgrims from Murugan Kovil to the Kumbukkan is provided by the Lahugala Divisional Secretary. Food parcels in polythene packets and plastic bottles have been completely banned in the area. Special transport arrangements too have been made by the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) for the convenience of the Katargama pilgrims.

At the same time pilgrims are also advised to take all precautionary measures during nights after sunset from wild elephants and leopards that are known to roam.

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