As hundreds of tourists flock to the Kandy Perahera Festival this July, take a hot tip from us & head instead for the equally fascinating Kataragama Festival in the south of the country. One of Sri Lanka’s holiest sites, Kataragama is the setting for the most sumptuous of all Sri Lanka’s religious festivals. Thousands of pilgrims of all faiths gather at the temple each year to engage in their own form of worship. Some subject themselves to mortifications such as barefoot walking on fire & acts of self-penance that include piercing their cheeks & tongues & pulling huge chariots along using hooks imbedded in their backs.

Fire Swirling, Kataragama Festival

     Visit Kataragama Festival as part of Ampersand Travel’s 16-night Natural Wonders of Sri Lanka itinerary, which also takes in Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Kitulgala, Bandarawela, Buttala, Yala National Park, Galle, Sinharaja & Bentota. From £2,250 per person including flights, transfers & all excursions. To learn more about this itinerary or any others, please call Jessica on 020 7289 6100 or e-mail at