The church located in the Puttalam District is said to be around 330 years old.
During the war, the shrine was under the control of the LTTE.
However, after the end of the war, the annual feast of the church had commenced. The church is located in the midst of the jungle frequented by wild animals and is believed to be a miraculous shrine revered by Catholics.
During the annual feast around 20,000 vehicle make the trek on the narrow gravel road and over 500,000 pilgrims visit the shrine for the feast irrespective of cast, race or creed.
The flag post is erected on July 10th every year, followed by the feast four days after. The thousands of pilgrims who visit the shrine for the feast construct tents and spend several days at the shrine during that period.
The pilgrims who visit the shrine undergo great hardships without proper infrastructure facilities but make the sacrifice anticipating greater blessings.
The festive mass was conducted by the Chilaw Bishop Valanus Mendis and a large gathering of nuns and priests had also attended the feast.
(Pics by Priyankara Kalupahana)