Vel Festival

Vel Festival

Among the Hindu festivals of Sri Lanka the Vel festival from Kataragama is looked upon with great veneration. The annual festival starts between July and August on the new moon day and celebrations continue for a fortnight. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Veddas all gather to seek knowledge and guidance from Lord Muruga, the God at the Kataragama Temple.

The highlight of the festival is the “perahera” or procession where an ornate silver plated chariot drawn by a pair of snow-white bulls carries a statue of Lord Murukan from the Pettah Kathiresan temple to the shrine at Bambalapitiya in colombo.The Streets are filled with devotees carrying earthen vessels containing holy ash and burning camphor on their heads and drummers along with other musicians bringing more excitement to the event. There are also other devotees who sing “bhajan” songs and chorus “Haro Hara” and in the midst of all this come the “Basanayake Nilame” and and “Kapuralas” with other temple officials to take the casket of the god in procession on the back of an elephant.

Vel is Colombo's answer to the Kandy Perahera and commemorates the victory of Sri Murukan over the forces of evil. When the procession reaches the temple, the devotees pay hoage to Lord Murugan by smashing coconuts, lighting joss sticks and burning camphor. The streets near the temple are adorned with traders and merchants selling variety of festive items from sweets and other food to clothes, brass utensils, camphor, beads, bangles and toys to earthenware, sweetmeats and even picture postcards. As the chariot makes its return trip on the evening of the third or fourth day, the climax is reached at Galle Face Green. Fireworks displays and shouts of "Haro Hara" fill the air as people from distant villages flock to see their war-god taking a drive through the city.

 

 




















® RIO TRAVEL INC Phone: 718-667-4497  Site Map Design by workerbee