Wedihiti Kanda – Kataragama


Wedihiti Kanda is a rocky hill that is 3.5 km away from the notable Kataragama Devalaya. Wedihiti Kanda is one of the well-known destinations for pilgrims to Kataragama, except Kataragama Devalaya and Sella Kataragama.
There are few details of Wedihiti Kanda, but folklore reveals that this mountain has a solid link to the Kataragama Deity. Myths of yore tell that King Dutugemuwa guaranteed the Deity Kataragama that he would construct a grandeur devale if he defeated King Elara, whose rule field was Anuradhapura. When the war was achieved the King Dutugemunu entered Kataragama and met with Deity Kataragama. It is said that this meeting took position on the top of Wedihiti Kanda.
The King then asked as to where the shrine should be constructed. After that, he stated that the shrine should be built where the arrow falls using a bow and arrow. Having exploded the arrow, it fell on the surface where the present Kataragama Devalaya is today. Thus, King Dutugemunu constructed this Devalaya.

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The Legend of Dutugemunu and Kataragama

According to legend, the prince Dutugemunu made a vow to the Deity Kataragama to build a grand devale once he defeats the invader Elara, who was ruling from Anuradhapura. After the war, the king came to Kataragama and met the deity Kataragama at the Top of the Wedihiti Kanda. The king inquired about the location where the new shrine should be built. He then took a bow and an arrow and asked that the shrine be made where the arrow falls. He shot the arrow into the air, and it fell on the ground where the Kataragama Devalaya stands today. This is where the first devale was built by King Dutugemunu, and it is considered one of the holiest places for pilgrims in Sri Lanka.

The Connection between Wedihiti Kanda and Kataragama Deity

Wedihiti Kanda is closely connected to the deity of Kataragama. The mountain is believed to be the dwelling place of the deity and is where the deity is said to have manifested his power. It is also thought that the mountain was used as a retreat by King Mahasena, who ruled the area when the Buddha made his third visit to Sri Lanka in the 8th year of his enlightenment (580 BC). King Mahasena is said to have taken to Buddhism after meeting the Buddha and was elevated to a deity by the community after his death.

The Ancient Shrine at the Top of Wedihiti Kanda

Even today, an ancient shrine remains at the Top of Wedihiti Kanda. The ruins indicate that the shrine was built in the 2nd century BC, during the reign of King Dutugemunu. However, newer shrine rooms have been constructed, and the antiquity of the mountain has yet to be recovered. Despite this, climbing the hill is a unique spiritual experience. 

The Spiritual Experience of Climbing Wedihiti Kanda

The climb to the Top of Wedihiti Kanda is physically challenging and a unique spiritual experience. As you make your way up the mountain, you will pass by several ancient ruins and relics that add to the mystical aura of the place.

The Ancient Shrine at the Top At the summit, you will find the remains of an ancient shrine that dates back to a time long before the construction of the Kataragama Devalaya. Despite its age, the shrine still holds a deep significance for pilgrims who come to pay their respects to the deity.

The Legend of King Mahasena According to local legend, King Mahasena, the powerful regional warrior king who ruled the area during Buddha's third visit to Sri Lanka, retreated to the Top of Wedihiti Kanda in his old age. After his death, he spent the rest of his life meditating and practising Buddhism and was eventually elevated to a deity by the local community.

The Panoramic View, The climb to the Top of Wedihiti Kanda is well worth it for the panoramic view alone. From the summit, you can see for miles in every direction, taking in the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

The Peaceful Atmosphere Finally, the peaceful atmosphere at the Top of Wedihiti Kanda is something that every visitor should experience. The mountain is known for its quiet, serene surroundings, which offer a perfect opportunity to escape everyday life's chaos and find inner peace.

Wedihiti Kanda may be shrouded in mystery, but its significance to Sri Lankan culture and history cannot be denied. Whether you are a pilgrim seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply a traveller looking for a unique adventure, visiting this ancient mountain is an experience you will never forget.

The Significance of Wedihiti Kanda Today

Wedihiti Kanda remains an important pilgrimage site for both Buddhists and Hindus today. Every year, thousands of devotees go up the mountain to pay homage to the deity Kataragama and seek blessings for themselves and their loved ones. In addition, the climb is considered a spiritual experience, allowing devotees to connect with nature and reflect on their lives.

In addition to its religious significance, Wedihiti Kanda is an important archaeological site. The ancient shrine at the Top of the mountain is a testament to the rich history and culture of Sri Lanka. However, in recent years, the antiquity of the mountain has been threatened by the construction of newer shrine rooms, which has altered the original landscape.

Despite these changes, Wedihiti Kanda remains a popular destination for those seeking spiritual guidance and cultural enrichment. The peaceful atmosphere and panoramic views from the Top of the mountain are still well worth the climb, even for non-believers. As such, Wedihiti Kanda remains a cherished landmark in Sri Lanka's religious and cultural landscape, a testament to the enduring legacy of the country's ancient past.

How to Reach Wedihiti Kanda

Reaching Wedihiti Kanda is relatively easy, as it is located just 3.5 km from the Kataragama Devalaya, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka. The nearest major city is Hambantota, approximately 40 km away.

If you are travelling by car or taxi, you can take the main road from Hambantota to Kataragama and then follow the signs to Wedihiti Kanda. The journey should take approximately one hour, depending on traffic conditions.

Alternatively, you can take a bus from Hambantota to Kataragama, hire a tuk-tuk or walk to Wedihiti Kanda. The bus journey should take approximately two hours, and there are frequent services throughout the day.

Once you reach Wedihiti Kanda, you must climb the mountain to reach the shrine at the Top. The climb is steep in places, but there are steps and handrails to assist you. It is advisable to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear and to bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you.

The Best Time to Visit Wedihiti Kanda

The best time to visit Wedihiti Kanda is during the year's cooler months, from December to February. The weather is generally dry and mild during this time, with temperatures ranging from around 20°C to 30°C.

Visiting Wedihiti Kanda during the cooler months also means that you can avoid the crowds that can sometimes gather during the peak pilgrimage season, which runs from July to August.

It is worth noting that Wedihiti Kanda is an open-air shrine with little shade on the mountain. Therefore, visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon is advisable to avoid the hottest part of the day.

If you visit during the peak pilgrimage season, be prepared for large crowds and longer wait times. It is also worth checking the dates of any major festivals or events, as these can cause the site to be particularly busy.


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