04th October 2023 10:41:06 Hours
Prioritized blessing ceremonies as the precursor to the forthcoming 74th Army Anniversary (10 Oct) commemoration as has been the practice during customary arrangements got underway at the sacred Kataragama Kirivehera and Devala compounds on Monday (02 Oct) where Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage RWP RSP ndu, Commander of the Army, together with representative Officers and Other Ranks of the Army graced as the Chief Guest.
Flag of the Army Headquarters, the Volunteer Force Headquarters, all Security Force Headquarters, Divisions, all Forward Maintenance Areas, Brigades, Regiments, Units and Army Training Schools that were taken thrice round the ‘Kirivehera’ stupa in devotion, preceded by Army drummers before they were placed for invocation of blessings. At the same time, a section of the attendees took part in the special ‘Kapruka’ Pooja around the pagoda while simultaneously joining the ‘Gilanpasa’ Pooja after illuminating the premises with coconut oil lamps.
After the Kirivehera incumbent monk, Ven Kobawaka Dhamminda Thero with members of the Maha Sangha performed religious rites, the day’s Chief Guest offered ‘Pirikara’ and ‘Gilanpasa’ to members of the Maha Sangha. A special Pooja with garlands of white lotus flowers was afterwards offered to the Mahasen Devalaya before colourful flag-bearers lined up again to proceed to the Kataragama Devalaya premises for religious observances.
The Commander of the Army on the same occasion presented a financial contribution towards the development of the sacred place of historic value as a symbolic gesture of veneration on account of the anniversary.
In addition, the Army Chief marked the commencement of the second stage construction of partially–built ‘Vihara Mandiraya’ at the sacred Kirivehera premises by laying the first floor tile on the floor. Army troops will carry out the rest of the construction and will complete the new complex.
The procession, composed of Army flag-bearers and ‘Hevisi’ groups wended its way to the premises where the flags were symbolically accepted by Senior Officers to be given to the Commander of the Army in turn. Religious observances at the ‘Ashtapalabodhiya’ in the premises saw the Commander of the Army offering ‘Atapirikara’ to the sacred tree.
As the ‘Thewava’ (regular offering) of the Devalaya began, the Commander delivered all the flags for invocation of blessings to the inner chamber of the Devalaya. Another financial donation for the development of the sacred place was also handed over to the Basnayake Nilame of the Kataragama Devalaya by the Commander of the Army on the same occasion.
Distribution of the special ‘Muruthen Pooja’ after a while among devotees inside the premises culminated the day’s event, attended by a host of Senior Officers, including Major General C.D Ranasinghe RWP RSP, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, Major General S.R.B Aluvihare RWP RSP ndu psc, Adjutant General of the Army, Major General W.W.H.R.R.V.M.N.D.K.B Niyangoda RWP RSP VSV USP ndu psc, Commander, Security Forces - Central,Major General C.S Munasinghe WWV RWP RSP USP ndc psc IG, General Officer Commanding of 12 Infantry Division and a large group of Officers and Other Ranks.