Source: Religion News Service
KATARAGAMA, SRI LANKA, January 27, 2001: "It is very, very peaceful here," said Hirono Hideki a 51-year-old Buddhist monk from Tokyo, referring to the Kataragama Temple in southern Sri Lanka. Declared a "Peace Area" by both Hindu and Buddhist leaders, the temple is a major pilgrimage spot for devotees of either faith. Temple elephants inside the compound offer homage with lotus flowers to Hindu dieties every day three times a day as pilgrims kneel and pray to Lord Skanda. Buddhist monks are a visible presence during this ritual. The temple complex as a whole has multiple Hindu Shrines with a white Buddhist temple about one half mile away.