The exposition of the Sacred Hair Relic that was airlifted to Thanthirimale from Gangaramaya temple in Colombo took place at the sacred site on June 14, 15 and 16. This was a highlight of this year’s Aloka pooja programme held at the historic Thanthirimale stupa by Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. which was successfully conducted for the eighth consecutive year.
A devotee who has taken part in this year’s three-day long Aloka Pooja programme Nalin Niwunhella, said Bodhi Pooja, Dhamma discussions, sil observation sessions, Bhakthi Geetha, were all conducted as a part of the Poson poya programme while several community service programmes such as distribution of wheelchairs for the disabled, distribution of uniform material for students were also held.
Apart from that, a Kavi Bana programme was also included in this year’s events, he said adding that Kavi Bana is a special mode of delivering sermons which is fast gaining popularity.
Among the devotees were a number of foreigners who came to Thantirimale to witness this event. “It was a continuous queue stretching about 500 metres along the rock from the shrine room of the temple where the relics were kept with devotees coming to witness the sacred exposition,” another participant Chris Edirisinghe said. “About 750 busloads of people arrived this time in addition to those who came by vans, trishaws and other transport,” he added.
While facilities such as water, sanitation and accommodation were in place for the pilgrims, several dansal were also organised within the temple premises to give meals for the visiting pilgrims.
The main dansala organised every year by a group of regular devotees from Panduwasnuwara to Thantirimale catered to over 40,000 visitors.
The chief organiser of the dansala, Ven. Madallegama Rathanajothi Thera said this dansala has been held in Thanthirimale for the past 31 years every Poson poya with the participation of about 175 dayaka members who come in two busloads to the temple from Panduwasnuwara to hold it.
“This is organised by the Sri Piyarathana Udugampolagedera Bodhirukkarama temple in Panduwasnuwara every year mainly from the donations of its dayakas. This time we held the dansal on June 15 and 16 starting from afternoon to midnight providing meals for those who came for the Aloka Pooja,” the Thera said.