Kataragama is an important pilgrimage travel destination in Sri Lanka, with some important religious tourist attractions. The town attracts many of the faithful, including Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and indigenous Vedda communities of Sri Lanka and South India for its shrine dedicated to Kataragamadevio -the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya. Another important site is the Buddhist stupa known as the Kiri Vehera. There is also a Hindu Kataragama festival that is organized here in July and August every year.
Kataragama is a fast developing township surrounded by jungle, and in ancient times was the seat of Government for many Sinhalese kings. The pilgrimage town is also an important tourist destination due to its closeness to Yala National park.
The Kataragama temple is a Hindu and Buddhist temple complex dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as the Kataragama Deviyo.
The Kiri Vehera Dagoba which stands close to the Katharagama Devalaya was built by the King Mahasena. It is said that the King met Lord Buddha on his final visit to Sri Lanka and as a token of gratitude built the Dagoba.
During July and August - a major annual festival accompanied by a Perahera is held in honour of the deity. Large crowds flock for veneration during this period.