© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Deities Hierarchy Ceremonies Sakra Guardians Twelve Deities

The Twelve Deities

According to Wirz (p. 136-154) there are believed to be Twelve Deities who dwell in the lowest heaven, the "chatur maharajika". It is from there, they occasionally come to the earth and punish people who are guilty of  offences, with illness or misfortune.

The first  three in the list are the ones mainly attributed with spreading diseases, especially in the form of epidemics and plagues, among mankind in order to afflict and punish them for their transgressions. They are:

Devol -  whose  main temple is at Sinnigama  near Hikkaduwa

Pattini - whose main temple is Navaguna 15 miles from Colombo on the Kandy Road

Kataragama -whose main temple is at Kataragama which is named after him - N.B. sometimes treated as                                          one of the Twelve or as a Guardian (details under Guardians

Natha -  whose main temple is near Kandy

Saman - guardian of the hill country, main temple at Ratnapura

Bibisana (or Vibisana) - Kelaniya Temple near Colombo airport (sometimes a Guardian)

Ganpathi - Ganesh is the Hindu name

Gini-Kurumbara, and Vahala are not full Deities as they are half demon (yakku-deviyo)


Dadimunda- also a yakku-deviyo - the Chief of the demons

Mahavishnu  - Vishnu -  His main temple is at Dondra

Isvara or Shiva

Further details of these Deities follow in the sub sections Katargama’s details are a sub section of Guardians.