Every year, during the months of July and August, the vibrant city of Kandy in Sri Lanka comes alive with a mesmerising cultural extravaganza known as the Kandy Esala Perahera. This 10-day festival is a celebration of great significance as it pays homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, which is enshrined at the magnificent Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. In this blog, we will delve into the customs and traditions associated with this grand festival and discover how one can respectfully take part in the celebration.
The Kandy Esala Perahera
Kandy Esala Perahera is a grand procession featuring a magnificent display of traditional dancers, fire performers, drummers, beautifully adorned elephants and elaborately decorated floats. The procession winds its way through the streets of Kandy, creating a captivating spectacle that attracts both locals and tourists from around the world. The festival lasts for 10 consecutive nights, with each night's procession becoming increasingly grand and awe-inspiring.
Paying Homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic
The primary purpose of Kandy Perahera is to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, which holds immense religious and historical significance to the people of Sri Lanka. The Sacred Tooth Relic is housed in Sri Dalada Maligawa, also known as the Temple of the Tooth. During the festival, the Sacred Tooth Relic is paraded on the back of a majestic tusker elephant, adorned with a magnificent golden casket. This sacred procession is the highlight of the entire festival and is considered a great honour to witness.
Respectfully Taking Part in the Celebration
If you plan to visit Sri Lanka during the months of July and August, witnessing the Kandy Esala Perahera should be on your must-do list. To respectfully take part in the celebration, it is important to dress modestly and respectfully. Visitors are encouraged to wear light and comfortable clothing, as the festival can last for several hours each night. It is customary to remove your footwear before entering the temple premises and to behave with reverence and respect throughout the festival.
Exploring More of Sri Lanka
While the Kandy Esala Perahera, or Dalada Perahera, is a remarkable event, Sri Lanka has much more to offer for those looking to explore further. If you have the opportunity, consider visiting Galle, a charming coastal town located approximately five hours away from Kandy. Galle is renowned for its well-preserved Dutch colonial architecture, beautiful beaches and vibrant culture. For a delightful stay in Galle, we recommend Owl and the Pussycat Hotel, a luxurious boutique property that offers a unique and enchanting experience.
In conclusion, the Kandy Esala Perahera stands as a captivating testament to Sri Lanka's deep-rooted traditions and spiritual fervour. It is a celebration that transcends time, connecting past and present through its vibrant processions and revered relics. The festival's grandeur, with its majestic elephants, resounding drums and graceful dancers, leaves a lasting impression on all who witness it. As a cherished cultural event, the Kandy Esala Perahera symbolises unity, faith and the preservation of ancient customs. Its significance extends far beyond the city of Kandy, attracting visitors from across the globe who come to immerse themselves in the magic and spiritual essence of this extraordinary festival.