Once a year, Aug 4, all religious roads in Ceylon lead to the ancient jungle shrine of Kataragama.
NO available shotlist
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Once a year, Aug 4, all religious roads in Ceylon lead to the ancient jungle shrine of Kataragama. The journey takes the pilgrims barefooted through miles of hot sandy roads. The nearest river to the temple is used by the devotees for bathing before the devotional march to the temple begins.
Near the temple, priests offer holy ash and sandal paste to the followers who use it to anoint themselves. A large number have steel spikes pierced into the body showing no trace of blood or pain. Spears of six to eight inches long are struck through the cheeks.
From a central assembly point, the pilgrims make a dance-like procession to the temple to the accompaniment of rhythmic beating of the drum, chanting of holy verses. At the temple, the offerings of fruits, flowers are submitted to the diety, in fulfilment of the last year's vows or religious undertakings.