Kandy Esala Perahera

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The month of August is Kandy’s moment of glory, as the city pulsates to the sound of drums, when you experience the magnificent celebration of history and religion. The best time to be in Kandy city to take on a journey of cultural discovery as the city comes alive from August 8-18.

The Esala Perahera has adding color along the Kandy streets for 10 days. It is one of the oldest and grandest festivals in Sri Lanka. It’s a custom parades dedicated to the Sacred tooth relic. There are 3 official phases of The Esala Perahera, it will begin with Kumbala Perahera on the first day and continue on for five days. This particular Perahera commences relatively low key gradually growing in grandeur until the main feature of the colorful Randoli Perahera parades the streets of Kandy. The Randoli Perahera is a wondrous sight, which culminates in a beautiful spectacle on the final Maha Randoli Perahera on day 9.

Every year, there are about millions people will crowd the streets hours before, waiting to being awed by the Island’s long march artistic heritage (Maha Randoli Perahera). It starts by cannon fire at 8.30 PM sets the procession in motion from the Temple of The Tooth Relic, Sri Dalada Maligawa. For safety reason, the real Sacred Tooth Relic never goes out for the festival. Thousands performers show their talents on the final day in resplendent costumes. The drummers set the beat for dancers to keep step while fire jugglers awe with their daring moves. Flag bearers, torch bearers, and whip crackers all walking to the tunes with each group having a customary part to play in this parade. In addition to the human entertainers, around 100 elephants join in. They are dressed in ornately bejeweled garments called caparisons and majestically strolling on the streets. After livening the Kandy’s street for about 3 hours, the parade returns to the Temple, where traditional customs are observed.

The water cutting ceremony on day 10 follows the last Perahera. Here water from the ‘golden ewer’ collected the year before will be discarded and replenished with new water thus signifying the end of the Esala Perahera.

Sri Dalada Maligawa
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

For Buddhists, The Sacred Tooth Relic is akin to the living Buddha and thus receives the utmost veneration. Thus it has resided as a religious symbol and ignited reverence for centuries past. Over the years the Sacred Tooth Relic was subsequently shifted from kingdom to kingdom for its protection before being retrieved to its final destination at Kandy in 16th Century. Now it deposited securely in the Golden Casket at the Shrine of Abode (Vedahitina Maligawa) of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy.

It is significance to Buddhists all over the world.  Daily devotees flock to the Shrine of Abode in the upper floor to bestow offerings and secure a glimpse of the Golden Casket. Crowds sifting along in long queues and the altar heavily laden with flowers are a common sight seen at the temple.

With the dawn of the 2600th year since the attainment of Buddhahood, Sri Dalada Maligawa stands a striking emblem of religion, culture, and history from a distance. The building itself has a simple architecture with octagonal dominates called Pathirippuwa, ignites a sense of spiritual awakening. The interior also leads with the intricate paintings.

Shrine of Abode (Vedahitina Maligawa)

The preparation of Esala Perahera

Arosha Mihiran
Prinya Songbundit 

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