© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Deities Hierarchy Ceremonies Sakra Guardians Twelve Deities


These women who serve at Kataragama Temple allegedly trace their descent from the Veddahs. They keep the site clean, follow the elephants during Perahera, and clear up any waste or litter during the processions.

Katargama Women’s Pujah

The drummer stood to the side awaiting the arrival of the Temple Women. These women work at Kataragama and are supposedly descended from Valli, Kataragama’s Veddah wife. They take part in all the main processions and care for the Temple and surrounds. The other pilgrims had been cleared to the side aisles of the Temple to leave space for the women.

After these women had made their Pujah offerings on behalf of all their group, the Guardians and Assistants made theirs - see section on Pujah.

These women play a prominent part in the Perahera. Apart from keeping the site clean they are seen here walking immediately in front of the elephant who carries the sacred Yantra from the inner Shrine of the main Kataragama Temple.

This is the elephant that carries the sacred relic. The Chief Guardian accompanies it on the elephant’s back.