Sri Dalada Maligawa or called Temple of the Tooth is located in the center of Kandy.
surrounded by the Kiri Muhuda reservoir built by King Sri Rajasinghe in 1807.
Hidden in the hills of the central province of Sri Lanka and surrounded by tropical tea plantations, Kandy is the center of the Buddhist faith on the island.
The city was the last capital of the kings of Sri Lanka and today is a world heritage site.
The Temple of the Tooth was originally built by the Kings of Kandy between 1687 and 1707, to host and honor the sacred tooth relic.
“Maligawa” (Palace) literally translates into a palace, and the temple is part of the palace complex.
The entire complex is at least three centuries old and has seen the rise and fall of many kings.
It has seen bloody wars and peaceful kingdoms and is one of the most historic places still standing on the island.
The temple itself was severely damaged during the 18th century colonial wars against the Portuguese and Dutch and the wooden structures were later rebuilt using more robust stones.
In more recent years, the temple was damaged by Tamil Hindu separatists in 1998, although once again the tooth relic remained unharmed.
After the Buddha was cremated, his four canine teeth were removed from the ashes.
These teeth are considered to be the most sacred relics of Buddhism.
It is the fourth tooth, the relic of the Kalinga tooth, which is now kept in Sri Dalada Maligawa.
When a neighboring kingdom waged a war with King Guhasiva of Kalinga to procure the tooth relic, for his safety, the tooth relic was brought out of India and sent to Sri Lanka with his daughter Princess Hemamali.
At that time, Buddhism was already well established in Sri Lanka and the island’s rulers maintained close relations with the Indian states that favored Buddhism.
The relic was hidden in his hair as he fled the Hindu armies that were besieging his father’s kingdom in India.
It was placed on a golden lotus flower and set in a jeweled box nestled in front of two large elephant tusks.
On special occasions the relic was paraded through the streets of Kandy on the back of an elephant (these animals were sacred to Lord Buddha).
According to legend, a severe drought was once destroying the area’s crops, so the tooth relic was extracted from its sanctuary and a large procession was organized that lasted seven days.
This ended the drought and began the tradition of the Perahera Festival which is celebrated from 25th July to 4th August 2020
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It is not easy to answer this question, since the Esala Perahera is celebrated every year in the 10 days preceding the full moon – Poya – called “Nikini”.
This means that it has no specific or fixed dates, since what governs is the solar calendar.
Some years it falls in late July and others in early August.
The authorities of Sri Dalada Maliwaga (Temple of the Tooth in Sinhalese) have the task of announcing the dates of the celebration.
The buildings of the temple are perhaps not as magnificent or richly decorated as those seen in Southeast Asia, but are rather striking with their red roofs and white stone walls that overlook Lake Kiri Muhuda.
The entire temple complex, from the pointed tiled roofs to the white walls with large airy windows, is built using classic Kandyan architecture.
The low walls have simple carved openings that give a filigree effect and are used to house coconut oil lamps and candles during the holidays.
In stark contrast to the exterior, the internal structures of the temple are elaborately carved and painted with exotic woods, lacquer and ivory.
Entering the temple complex, you enter Pallemaluwa, or the ground floor area.
The room is richly decorated and fortified with a large wooden door, decorated with bronze and ivory.
The area in front of the door is called “Hevisi Mandapaya” (courtyard of the drummers) where daily rituals are performed.
The main sanctuary has two floors.
The tooth relic is kept upstairs in the room called “Vadahitina Maligawa”.
The door of this room is covered with gold, silver and ivory and inside the tooth rests on seven gold caskets studded with precious stones.
On the right of the relic is the “Perahara Karanduwa” (chamber of relics used in the annual Esala Mangalaya Perahara (procession)) kept inside a bulletproof glass, donated by India.
Above the chamber of the relics there is a golden lotus flower studded with precious stones hanging from the ceiling.
Further inland there is the Pattirippuwa, or Octagon, which was built by the last king of Kandy as a place where he could turn to his fellow citizens.
Once part of the royal palace, today this building has been incorporated into the temple and today houses ancient texts.
On the left of the temple is the new building which houses the taxidermied remains of the Maligawa Tusker – Raja.
For over 50 years Raja has been carrying the gold casket that bore the tooth relic and in 1984 it was declared a national treasure by the government.
It is the second time that a tusker has been declared a national treasure.
Every day, pilgrims dressed in white make the journey to the temple, bringing offerings of lotus flowers and frangipani to honor the precious relic.
Flowers are purchased from vendors next to the temple doors and the whole complex is wonderfully fragrant with flowers and incense.
Visitors from other faiths and tourists are welcome in the Temple of the Tooth, and it is very easy to find your way around.
Just follow the slow procession of devotees who cross the halls and pass in front of the relic.
In addition to the main sanctuary there are other attractions such as the Royal Palace which now spends its days as an archaeological museum.
In addition, the Chamber of Hearings which now acts as a chamber for ceremonies and various other associated structures.
Freelance guides will offer their services throughout the temple complex and free audio guides are also available at the ticket office.
An elevator facilitates access for travelers with disabilities.
The complex can become crowded as it receives many worshipers and tourists, backpackers, groups of Chinese tourists and Thai monks who are pushing for space.
It is necessary to wear clothes that cover legs and shoulders and to remove shoes.
Photography is allowed, so you won’t be hindered in capturing the moments spent on this historic site.
Sri Lanka is indeed the perfect place for children and for people who like animals and nature.
This country is incredibly green.
It is impossible not to find elephant herds on safari or even on the same road traveling.
It is also very easy to see leopards, macaques and other types of monkeys, giant squirrels, jackals, etc. etc
Furthermore, walking with children and adults through the Peradeniya Botanical Garden is a delight. Along with the giant trees and millions of plants, we will also find monkeys and other animals in this immense place.