© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Home Whips Kings Processions Poson Dondra Kodawila Kataragama

Dondra Perahera

Dondra Temple has an ancient shrine dedicated to the Deity Uppalavanna or Shri Vishnu. This Perahera held in his honour.

For the big Peraheras elephants are borrowed from other Temples for the processions. They have to be fed! This is elephant food arriving at Dondra before the procession started.

At the Dondra Perahera an old man always leads the procession. He dispenses Holy oil to members of the crowd who approach him with their bottles. He is wearing a blue head dress which is the colour associated with the Deity. The police are in charge of crowd control. The procession starts about 3pm and continues well into darkness. People travel from all over Sri Lanka to attend this 10 day festival and often sleep in the open around the Temple.

Part of the crowd waiting at the front entrance

Eventually the “oil man” reaches the main entrance

Police allow the crowd forward to collect their “Holy” oil”. It has taken approx 3 hours to reach the front.Then follow the various processions of different cultural dances

Fire Twirling. As this group arrives in front of the Temple entrance, one twirler rolls around in the flames - perhaps fulfilling a pledge to the Deity Kali.

A group of Tovil or devil dancers.

One of the 15 decorated elephants in the procession

One of the cultural dance groups

The decorated elephants separate the different groups

Many of these elephants “dance” to the band music as they process

Kandyan Dancers

Tovil or Devil Dancers

More Tovil or Devil Dancers

At the end of Dondra Perahera procession is the Head Temple Man arrayed in a beautiful traditional Singhalese costume


Kandyan Dancers