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Chilaw is a big town, in Puttalam District, North Western Province, Sri Lanka. It’s governed by an urban council.
Tourists visit the well-known Hindu temple located in Munneswaram, situated in the historic Demala Pattuva (“Tamil division”) region in the Puttalam District. Every year people flock to Chilaw to observe the Munneswaram Festival. Traders sell various hand painted animals made out of clay such as the deer, money box tills and ‘raban’ (traditional hand drums) from stalls all over the town, during the Munneswaram Festival.
The main festivals celebrated at the temple include Navarathri and Sivarathri. The former is a nine-day long festival in honour of the presiding Goddess, while the latter is an over-night observation in honour of Lord Shiva. In addition to these two Hindu festivals, the temple has a festival of its own, the Munneswaram festival, a four-week long event attended by Hindus and Buddhists.
Chilaw Cathedral Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the Cathedral of Chilaw Diocese.This Cathedral has a history of more than 2 centuries. There is a legend about the Cathedral’s statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This incident happened more than 200 years ago. At that period most of the area of Chilaw Town was covered by the forest. A woman went in search of firewood and she heard a sound of a Lady speaking, “Please take me”.She stopped her work and went in search of the amazing sound. Miracle! A statue of Mother Mary was on a tree. She took the statue and handed over it to the Parish Priest of the church. He recognized the statue and it was a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a miraculous statue. And it is believed that it is the same statue which is in the Cathedral at present.The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated in the month of July annually.During feast season of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel the town is fully decorated as a Homage given to Mother Mary.Everyone in the town get together to celebrate the feast in harmony.