The Sacred Tooth Relic believed to be the left upper canine tooth (Dālada) of the Lord Buddha is considered the most revered object of Buddhist worship. It is Preserved and protected at this 17th century Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dālada Māligāwa) in Kandy.
The enchanting sacred hill-capital city of Kandy with its ancient, rich history and culture lying 1,526 feet above sea level, is the last capital of the ancient kingdom (ancient Senkadagala). Kandy is home to the famous Dalada Maligawa, (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) and the Royal Palace which was reconstructed in the 18th century, both situated adjacent to the serene and beautiful Kandy Lake with its quaint little island in the middle, said to have housed the King's harem. Kandy is surrounded by the magnificent misty mountain ranges of Knuckles and Hantana. Sri Lanka’s largest river the Mahaweli Ganga flows through Kandy and it still strongly reflects the ancient lifestyles of its people, Sri Lankan traditions and a rich heritage of Music, Dance, Sculpture, Religion and ancient architecture. Kandy’s grandeur, pleasantly cooler-climate, lush surroundings and urban rain forests make it a truly satiating sacred destination in Sri Lanka.
While major religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and other beliefs are practiced in Kandy, Buddhism has and still continues to play an important role in the rich culture and the lifestyles of its people. The famous Temple of the Scared Tooth Relic where the revered tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is preserved, is considerably the most celebrated, notable Buddhist religious Institution in Sri Lanka. It has an admirable and highly honored heritage and also a key tourist and pilgrim attraction.
Legend has it that the tooth was taken from the Lord Buddha’s funeral pyre and brought to Sri Lanka in 313 AD by Princess Hemamali from India.
The relic has been ceremonially brought out for display on special occasions where it has been preserved and survived many situations that could have harmed it, including the latest attempt in January 1998 where LTTE separatists bombed the temple.
The revered tooth relic is housed within a two-story inner shrine that is guarded by two magnificent, large elephant tusks. The relic rests on a solid-gold lotus flower and enclosed in jeweled caskets resting on a throne.
The exteriors of the temple buildings are solemnly decorated, generally painted in white with red roofs. In contrast however, the interior of the temple boasts exquisite displays of richly carved and decorated inlaid wood and ivory. Decorating the exterior of the Temple complex is the eye-catching low brilliant white stone wall, with its quaint lattice work.
The enthralling, colorful and famous annual religious pageant the Esala Perahera lasts for 10 days in the month of August where the tooth relic is paraded in its casket atop a magnificently decorated Royal Male Elephant, flanked by two matching smaller ones. The Esala Perehera is a key religious and tourist attraction making it the grandest religious festival of Sri Lanka and is intricately connected to this famous Temple.
The festival’s colorful pageantry includes a variety of traditional cultural dances performed by dazzling fire-dancers, whip-dancers, traditional Kandyan dancers and as many as 100 lavishly decorated parading elephants attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists from around the globe.
On the final night of this festival, the colorful procession makes its way into the temple, with the elders in dressed in elegant costumes of the ancient kings of Kandy, holding candles and proudly leading it as they proceed to circle the sacred shrine.
All this amazement and excitement lights up the nights during August, propelling the city of Kandy to another level of exhilaration and excitement at this time. In all its enchantment, richly religious and cultural endowment, Kandy has been declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO.
Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Location: 7.293632° N, 80.641387° E
Phone: +94 812234226