The jungle shrine of Kataragama, located an hour’s drive away from Tissamaharama, has great religious and historical significance that cuts across race and religion. Ancient Kataragama brings together Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians, all of which worship each day at its numerous temples which are dedicated to the various faiths. It is believed that King Dutugemunu, the warrior king and Sinhala folk hero, built a shrine here for the worship of the Kataragama God in the 2nd century BC. There is also a first century BC Buddhist Dagoba, Kirivehera, at this site. The `Maha Devala’, the main shrine of God Skanda, the Hindu war God, and several other adjoining Hindu shrines, conduct daily religious rituals. Each day, at specific times the Hindu shrines come alive when poojas (devotions) are presented to the Gods; baskets filled with fruit and flowers, burning incense and oil lamps, dashing of coconuts, clanging of bells, and the continuous chanting, truly a mesmerizing experience.