Gatabaru Esala Maha Perahara: Spectacular pageant of religion and culture | Sunday Observer

Gatabaru Esala Maha Perahara: Spectacular pageant of religion and culture

The Gatabaru temple
The Gatabaru temple

The Gatabaru Esala Maha Perahara, one of the leading national, religious and cultural festival which has been traditionally held for the past 63 years, will be held on a grand scale with all its pomp and glory from September 8 to 15.

The Gatabaru Esala Perahahara has been declared by the Government Gazzette under the Public Pilgrimage Ordinance Act as a public charity organisation and a public procession. The Gatabaru Esala Perahara is a nationally recognised procession with the participation of thousands of devotees and the entire festival costs more than Rs. 200 lakhs annually.

There is no archaeological evidence to establish a chronological history of the Gatabaru Raja Maha Viharaya which is revered and worshiped by devotees as a major cave temple in the Southern province and is dedicated to the deity of King Rajurubandara.

However, the origins of the temple date back to the 9th century BC to the 1st century BC.

Although there is no sufficient historical evidence, it can be assumed that the temple was established in the late Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa period under the patronage of a local leader or a king. Like many other temples in the Southern province, the Gatabaru Vihara flourished during the foreign rule of the 16th century.

The Gatabaru cave temple is a safe haven with a unique geographical location.

It is interesting to note that the folklore of Rajarata claims Gatabaru Viharaya as a place of refuge for certain kings during political turmoil. Historical and archaeological evidence has been found to prove that the people of Morawakkorale a have been able to play a positive role in the politics of the island.

“Gatabaru Raja Maha Viharaya is not just another temple. There is a special honour that is inherent in the sacred land of Gatabaru Viharaya.

People who go to temples like Katharagama and Devinuwara do not complain of injustice or unfairness. Devotees have long held united beliefs that Gatabaru Viharaya has powers to solve problems that cannot be solved.

Many people from the top to the bottom of the world in this society and foreign countries have had amazing opportunities in their lives to solve problems that could not be solved,”said the chief prelate, Dr. Kirinde Ananda thero.