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Kataragama, Sri Lanka


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Kataragama Devotees Trust

The Kataragama Devotees Trust is a non-profit non-political body founded in 1988 by friends and devotees of Kataragama from all religious and ethnic backgrounds. The mission of the KDT is to foster greater appreciation of Kataragama's rich cultural heritage while promoting and protecting its traditions.

The Kataragama Devotees Trust brings together devotees of Kataragama from all backgrounds and walks of life who share a common dedication to the principle of unity within diversity that is Kataragama's hallmark. The KDT's unpaid volunteers contribute their time, skills and diverse resources as a modern extension of Kataragama's ancient traditions of dana(generosity) and Rajakariya ('royal service'). The KDT website Kataragama.org is one such dana or offering to Lord Kataragama and for all devotees.

The KDT has existed an organization since 1988 when it was founded to spearhead efforts to revive the ancient tradition of Kataragama Pada Yatra, which had fallen into abeyance since 1983 due to ethnic strife. Among the friends of the KDT are the modern custodians of the Kataragama Guru Parampara, without whose patronage the KDT would have no legitimacy.

Our Objectives

  • To foster peace, harmony and understanding between all members of society by promoting a greater understanding of our common heritage as symbolized in Kataragama.
  • To find new ways of adapting the ancient message of Kataragama to the changing conditions of modern society so that all in society so that all in society - young and old, rich and poor alike - may relish and enjoy the message.
  • To honour the men and women who have protected and preserved the traditions of Kataragama, however humble their circumstances or appearance.
  • To protect our sacred artistic heritage by working to insure that the traditional arts and crafts continue to be taught, practiced and supported at all levels of society.
  • To promote a genuine living synthesis of East and West, tradition and modernity, for the common benefit of all.
  • To promote the exploration and judicious application of the latent powers of the human mind.
  • To do whatever needed in accordance with the above.

What We Do

  • Revival and ongoing support of the Pada Yatra since 1988
  • Creation and operation of Kataragama Kæle Kendra Ashram and activities centre of the Kataragama Devotees Trust in Kataragama since 1992
  • Encouragement and support for associated ashrams across Sri Lanka and South India
  • Kataragama Research and Publications Project since 1989
  • Bhakti annual Esala festival souvenir-newsletter (1990-1993)
  • The Living Heritage Network of Internet websites, including
  • Production of Kataragama-Skanda Trilogy (1987) and other documentaries
  • Restoration of neglected shrines
  • Matru pujas honouring hundreds of Sri Lankan mothers
  • Assistance to Kataragama swamis, bawas and senior devotees
  • Press, radio and television coverage of Kataragama activities
  • Presentation of research articles at professional conferences
  • Organisational support for the First and Second International Conference Seminars on Skanda-Murukan
  • Photographic and video documentation of Kataragama traditions
  • Promotion of traditional arts and crafts
  • Communications for Peace and Reconciliation programme
  • First Festival of Lanka in Colombo, December 1989
  • Information service for researchers, film artists, pilgrims and tourists

Kataragama Devotees Trust : Board of Trustees

  1. Mano Chanmugam (1988)
  2. Gamini Jayasinghe (1988)
  3. Izath Nilar (1988)
  4. Subodhini Nirmalingam (1988)
  5. Manik Sandrasagra (1988)
  6. Nimalasiri Silva (1988)
  7. Mudiyanse Tennekoon (1988)
  8. Patrick Harrigan (1990)
  9. Kingsley Perera (1998)

BHAKTI, the annual newsletter-journal of Kataragama Devotees, was a joint publication of the Kataragama Devotees Trust and Cultural Survival of Sri Lanka from 1990 to 1993. It was the first publication of the KDT and precursor to today's Living Heritage Network and Murugan Bhakti Network.

Editor: Patrick Harrigan
Production: R. Kumaragurunathan
Printed at: The Meihandan Press Ltd.
161 Sea Street
Colombo-11, Sri Lanka