Welcome to Kataragama


It is one of those wonderful destinations where the most outlandish of legends becomes solid fact and magic floats in clouds of incense. Many believe that King Dutugemunu built a shrine to Kataragama Deviyo (the resident god) here in the 2nd century BC, but the site is thought to have been significant for even longer.

In July and August, the Kataragama Festival draws thousands of pilgrims. Apart from festival time, the town is busiest at weekends and on poya (full moon) days. It's easily visited from Tissa.


Top experiences in Kataragama

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Travel guides

Starting at $32.49

Image for

Kataragama activities

$138 Cultural & Theme Tours

Viewing of Kandy Esala Perahara

The Esala Perahera in Kandy is celebrated to honour the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four ‘guardian’ Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini. The Kandy Maligawa Perahera is followed in order by those of the Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini ‘Devales’ (Temples dedicated to these Gods) which are situated in the vicinity of the Kandy Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth). After the Kandyan Kingdom fell to the British in 1815, the custody of the Tooth Relic was handed over to the Buddhist Clergy. In the absence of the King, a lay custodian called the Diyawadana Nilame was appointed to handle routine administrative matters. The purpose of the Kandy Esala Perahera Procession is to beseech blessings of the gods to obtain rain for the cultivation of crops and to enrich the lands of the kingdom. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the streets of the Kandy city which is done with exceptional panache. This is considered as one of the most beautiful festivals in Asia. The parade is split in 2. The Kumbal Perahera and the Randoli Perahera. The Kumbal Perahera takes place during the first 5 days of the festival. This gorgeous parade starts here exactly at the auspisious time set for that day. Legend has it that the first Kumbal Perahera is shown to infants to drive away any evil spells or spirits. In tradition the Kumbal Perahera does not expect a presence of the Nilame and the Tooth Relic (custodian of the Sacred tooth Relic), however the drummers and tuskers take part without any ceremonial costumes. The Randoli Perahera takes place during the last 5 days of the event. The Sacred Tooth Relic can be seen kept on an elephant back protected by the custodian during all 5 days of the parade. There are 4 main events dedicated to 4 hindu gods that takes part in the parade. This cannot be seen during the Kumbal Perahera. All the elephants are colorfully dressed and all the events take place through the night on the designated route around the Kandy City.

$110 Day Trips & Excursions

Yala National Park Private Tour with BBQ Dinner on the Beach

Get picked up from your Tissamaharama, Yala, Kataragama or Hambantota hotel. Hop into the Safari Jeep and travel to Yala National Park for an exciting game drive. Yala Park is situated in Sri Lanka's dry zone, made up of scrub jungles, water reservoirs, brackish lagoons, and riverine habitats. It has the highest population density of leopards in the world, and is also home to a herd of 300-350 elephants.  As well as leopards and elephants, keep an eye out for animals including sloth bears, black-naped hares, spotted deer, sambar, hanuman langurs, toque monkeys, stripe-necked and ruddy mongooses, wild boar, and golden jackal. You may also see the enormous land and water monitors and, of course, marsh crocodiles. Get back into the Jeep and drive to a private beach, arriving at approximately 6:15pm. Here you have a couple of hours to explore, dip your toes in the cool water, and enjoy a 4-course barbeque dinner with a glass or two of wine. The beach is located in an exclusively private area and dinner is set up only for your group.   At 8:30pm, the Jeep will take you back to your hotel in Tissamaharama or Yala, arriving at around 9pm.

$33.26 Transfers & Ground Transport

Colombo, Sri Lanka Airport (CMB) to Tamarind Lake, Kataragama

Once you land at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA / CMB), your friendly driver will meet you and drive you directly to your hotel,Tamarind Lake, Kataragama. Whether you’re traveling individually, with a partner or in a group, your ground transport needs will be covered by this private airport transfer service. Avoid the confusion of taxis or public transport and enjoy a hassle-free start to your vacation. Airport transfers have never been this easy. Travel in style and comfort with unparalleled safety in our luxurious cars and get to your destination in good time and great order. Your English-speaking chauffeur is always at your service. SKU: LK43201200

$33.26 Transfers & Ground Transport

Colombo, Sri Lanka Airport (CMB) to Mandara Rosen, Kataragama

Once you land at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA / CMB), your friendly driver will meet you and drive you directly to your hotel, Mandara Rosen, Kataragama. Whether you’re traveling individually, with a partner or in a group, your ground transport needs will be covered by this private airport transfer service. Avoid the confusion of taxis or public transport and enjoy a hassle-free start to your vacation. Airport transfers have never been this easy. Travel in style and comfort with unparalleled safety in our luxurious cars and get to your destination in good time and great order. Your English-speaking chauffeur is always at your service. SKU: LK43201210

$320 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Day Trip to Turtle Hatchery, Yala National Park and Kataragama

Start the day with a morning pickup from your hotel in Galle at 8am. On the way to Yala from Galle, you’ll visit the Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery, about a 30-minute drive from Galle. Learn about turtles, their life at sea, and the preservation of this beautiful species. You'll then continue to Yala National Park, where you’ll transfer into a safari Jeep. Drive into the park, where you can see everything from leopards crossing in front of your vehicle, wild elephants drinking at the watering hole, and Sri Lankan black bears wandering in the forest. You can also see wild boars and peacocks on your journey. Then head to Kataragama, a pilgrimage town sacred to the Buddhist, Hindu, and Vedda (an aboriginal people inhabiting the forest of Sri Lanka. Learn about the town’s deity Katharagama, also known as prince Skhandha, as you discover more details about Sri Lankan religious traditions. We then return to Galle where you will be dropped back off to your hotel.

$25 Transfers & Ground Transport

Arrival Transfer- Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport to Hambantota and Yala

Our English speaking driver will pick you up from Mattala Mahinda Rajapakshe International Airport by an Air conditioned car and driven to your hotel in Hambantota, Tissamaharama, Yala or Kataragama. We will pick you up at anytime of the day from Mattala International airport depending on your flight arrival details. Please select correct drop off location to provide a smooth arrival transfer. Our friendly and professional driver will meet you at Airport arrival lobby and take you to your hotel. Please make sure that you collect all your luggage and other belongings before you get off the vehicle. Please specify your flight details correctly along with the timings.