Pilgrims from Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mullaithivu, and Trincomalee set off this morning from Ukandai on their journey on foot through the jungle to Katahragama to attend the Esala festival on August 07, 2013.
They will make a long trek through Kumana and Yala national parks and reach Kataragama on the previous day of the ceremony.
Lahugala MOH office, the Wildlife Conservation Department and the police and the security forces would provide facilities including meals, drinking water and protection during the journey.
The band of pilgrims included men, women and children. The Wildlife Conservation Officers advised them not to use polythene bags and plastic bottles while journeying through the jungle and only to use the bags provided by the department. Ampara District Forest Conservator, Police and military personnel were present at the occasion. Pix by U.Wijesinghe and Saman Ratnayaka