Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
A visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a must when you are in Kandy. The most revered site in Sri Lanka, it is locally known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa and is a place of worship established in the 16th century AD. Situated adjacent to the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, the shrine overlooks the vast expanse of the Kandy Lake.
Preserving the Relic of Buddha in this haven of refuge, it was declared that whoever houses and protects it is automatically given the power to rule the country. The artefact serves as a significant symbol of Sinhalese identity and pride. Everyday thousands of white-clad pilgrims make their way to this hallowed space, bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani for their offerings and prayers, known as pujas. While the tooth stays hidden within a gold casket, visitors and devotees always visit the Temple during puja just to have a look at the well protected inner shrine where it is kept.
Annually, during the Esala Perahera procession, the Relic casket gets paraded through the streets atop a male elephant. The 10-day festival is one of the largest Buddhist festivals in the world and the most significant in Sri Lanka.
The Temple is best visited in the morning or the evening when the ceremonial offerings and prayers are given. It is essential that you are dressed appropriately, clothes must cover your legs and shoulders and, before entering the holy Temple your shoes must be removed.