Each year Katharagama throbs with life in the months of July or August as devotees of all faith gather to worship and play homage to God Skanda the Hindu God of War. This year the festival was organized in a grand scale by the Uva Province Chief Minister and the Basnayaka Nilame of the Ruhunu Katharagama Maha Devalaya Shaseendra Rajapaksa. Travellers holidaying at hotels in Yala that were in the vicinity of the Katharagama temple such as the Secret Yala had the opportunity to witness this colourful festival.
The famous, vibrantly dressed kaavadi dancers carrying arched poles made with peacock feathers and coloured paper and the dancing troupes that represent the main local traditional dancing forms were seen displaying their talents. A notable feature in the festival was the devotees who pierced their cheeks and tongue with silver arrow-head pins and others who dragged carts through pierced hooks in their backs as an atonement of their sins.