A Spiritual Journey to Galle’s Yatagala Temple
Today, Galle Fort is a major tourist attraction where you will find large crowds of tourists duly following their guides. Of course, the Fort is a highlight of Galle city, situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, and yet there is so much more to explore in this beautiful coastal region, if you are willing to dig a little deeper.
On this tour we take you away from the tourist throngs for a spiritual journey into Galle’s rural countryside to visit Yatagala Temple. The short tuk-tuk ride is already something everybody should experience – riding down little back roads surrounded by lush green paddy fields. Here there are no tourists to be found, only a few villagers harvesting their crops, or chatting with neighbors and drinking toddy palm wine.
Once you arrive, you ascend a number of steps to get to the temple. Its name means “under the rocks”, because the temple’s Buddhist statues lay under huge boulders. As soon as you remove your flip flops and enter, you will feel the peaceful, mystical atmosphere of the temple rising up through your toes – a calming feeling!
Your Buddhist guide will then take you through the temple on a spiritual journey to purge your body and mind of negative thoughts and to pay tribute to Buddha. This symbolic ritual practiced by every Sri Lankan Buddhist, provides devotees with a sense of happiness, peace and relief.
You will feel humbled standing in front of the large Buddha statue, while you offer up the traditional pichcha flowers in worship. Other rituals you will participate in include burning incense, lighting votive lamps and offering water to the sacred Bodhi tree. As you carry out these rituals, known as pujas, your guide will tell you more about their meaning and significance.
After presenting your offerings you will be ready to receive a blessing from the devoted monks, but before you do this, don’t forget to have a look inside the room carved into the rocks where Buddha supposedly resides – a stunning display of Buddha murals that have been hidden away for centuries. Finally, kneel down facing Buddha and gently hold the pirith noolaand threads, before closing your eyes and allowing your spirit to be lulled by the sound of the chanting monks…