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Devales

Devales are to be found scattered throughout the island. The artistic outlook of these are definitely an attraction to lovers of art. Kandy, Kurunegala, Uva and the Sabaragamuva Provinces including the south of the island, boast many. The rituals are similar to that conducted at Hindu shrines yet today. These have evolved their own practices and deity concepts.

The concept is that devale veneration must radiate from around the inner shrine dedicated to the assigned deity. The inner area of the devale remaining a strictly private area with access being given to mainly the priests assigned to service the temple. Visitors are allowed into the mandapa area and the priests chosen to service the shrine accept the offerings of the public at the area known as the antam. These offerings are then carried into the inner shrine. The ritual is completed when part of the offerings are returned to the devotee as a sacred food. Shrines are built of stone, brick and plaster or in the simplest form of palm leaf, recording the various stages of growth. The Ratnapura Devale is one of the most elaborate and complex of this shrine type.

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