Devalaya is situated on the Kumana-Panama jungle path in the southeast
coast of Sri Lanka.
It is believed to be the location where Kanda Kumara landed on the
shore of Okanda with Valli Amma in a golden boat.
The boat which turned into a rock still stands on the Okanda beach
known as the Ran Oru Gala.
It is held in reverence by many, irrespective of religion, race or
creed. Archaeologists believe the temple being situated near the ancient
Okanda harbour would have enhanced its importance with many a seafaring
man seeking its blessings before and after a journey.
The temple imitates more of a Southern Indian Kovil structure due to
its large number of Hindu statues. Especially the Tamil Hindus make an
annual Pada Yathra or foot pilgrimage through the Okanda temple and the
Yala National Park to Kataragama during the perahera season.
The devotees invoke Kanda Kumara's and Valli Amma's blessings and
assistance prior to their journey through the thick jungles of Yala
teeming with wild animals.
who walk from afar savour the traditional pilgrim's life of sleeping in
temples under a open sky.
They accept whatever alms that strangers may offer and bear the
scorching sun while walking barefoot on scorching hot foot paths.
They are dressed in simple pilgrims' garb with some of their few
belongings balanced on their heads.
For many pilgrims the Pada Yathra is a chance to visit ancient
shrines all the way to Kataragama in the company of their veteran