Kandy Esala Perahera - The Grand festival in the Holy City
Kandy is one of the oldest and holiest cities in Sri Lanka surrounded by many mountains. These mountains have lots of tea plantation and also a good bio diversity. Kandy is a beautiful city because of many old , traditional buildings, a nice lake at the middle of the city , ancient temples and also Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa). Many tourists from all over the world come to see this place and also Kandy Esala Perahera organized by the Temple of Tooth.
Why Kandy is important ?
Kandy is the last Kingdom before Englishmen invade Sri Lanka. As we mentioned earlier, Kandy is so important because of the Temple of the Tooth. Temple of the Tooth is the place where Lord Buddha's tooth is kept and worshipped. In 1988 , UNESCO declared Kandy is a world heritage.
- Elevation : 500 m
- Weather : 24°C, 93% Humidity
- Population : 145,400+
- Hotel rate (3 Star) : LKR 7,000.00
- Hotel rate (5 Star) : LKR 15,000.00
- Homestay and other : LKR 5,000.00
We started our journey from Colombo to Galle using expressway (paid road).
If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka, specially Kandy, the best month is July because you can see this historic event too. This is a ritual conducted by the great kings and nowadays also government and Temple of the Tooth continue that.
We recommend to go one day early before this event. IF you are planning to stay more than 1 night, you have to book some hotels. And also there are many places to visit in Kandy. In this article we are only focusing about this great event. Before start of this event, it's so crowded and thousands of people visit Kandy city. So it's really hard to find a better place to watch this peacefully. If you like, you can pay average of USD 80 - USD 120 and get tickets and then you will get a seat of a Hotel balcony or some other place you can watch peacefully. But there are many good places available if you visit bit early.
If you can go in the morning, you can see how elephants and other people get ready to this event. This pageant is one of the best in whole Asia and has more than 100 elephants and tuskers , thousands of dancers , drummers , torchbearers , and specially whip crackers.Sri Lanka has most beautiful Tuskers in the world. This Tusker is on thw way to get dressed.
Before start of the pageant , some official people come and their duty is clean the road. Because this is the most sacred event in Kandy. These duties have a long history. Specially these duties were given to these people and their families long time ago by kings who rules Kandyan Kingdom.
Some people cover their faces because they don't like to disclose to the society that they have some cleaning jobs.
Start of the pageant is very colorful and vibrant. You can see many torchbearers and whip crackers performing and letting people know that the most sacred event is going to start. And also early days these torchbearers used to get some more light at the start of the pageant.This is one of my favourite times. You have to feel the warmth and vibrant environment around you.
After these, you can see some Sri Lankan traditional flags and also some Buddhist flags. Some flags are made from steels and those belongs to 9 provinces in Sri Lanka.
Normally you can see 5 or 6 sets of flags in this section. Always you can hear some traditional Sri Lankan music in the background. It means more items coming on the way.
After the flags, you can see some nice traditional dancers. These are some unique performance in Sri Lanka. Everybody can't participate this even if they can dance. These duties coming from families and they have to do them no matter what is the current social status and the job they are doing now. These dancing items are one of the most attractive items in the pageant.In the above photo, you can see some people sitting on chairs and watching this event. You also can pay average of $80 - $120 and get a seat and watch this.
We captured only few dancing items. But normally there are more than 50 dancing items here.
After these dancing items and traditions events, most welcomed and most important event comes. The sacred tooth relic is contained in a golden casket placed on the special board back of King of the Tuskers in Sri Lanka. The name of that Tusker is "Nadungamuwe Raja".
Nadungamuwe Raja comes middle of 2 guardian Tuskers. The most attractive event in the pageant. Everyone should stand up and pay some respect. This is the golden casket which contains the sacred tooth relic. You can see his Tusks are decorated with flowers and golden rings.
After the sacred tooth relic, the official guardian / the chief person of the Temple of the Tooth comes. The traditional name of the person is "Diyawadana Nilame". He is dressed like a King and surrounded by some official people.
This is how old kings in Sri Lanka dressed up. Very colorful and expensive dresses.
In Sri Lanka, there are many Gods and Goddess. Among those, there are 4 famous and most powerful goddess named "Natha" , "Paththini" , "Katharagama" and "Wishnu". They have their own colors and also some traditions.
After the main pageant, you can see the pageant of "Natha Dewalaya". In sinhala "Dewalaya" means Temple. The color is yellow and they also have many elephants and tuskers.
There are many dancers and drummers making this event more beautiful. This is not as long as main Temple of the Tooth pageant. But so colorful.
After this, you can see pageants of "Katharagama" , "Wishnu" and also "Paththini". they have their own colors like Green and Blue. The tuskers with blue lights and dresses is one of the best attractions ever.
If you are seeing something like this, it means this is the end of the great pageant. This is also an ancient tradition to symbolize the end of this great event.
Please feel free to comment and ask any question from us. We are happy to help you. Hope you will enjoy.
[ In this article , all the photo credit goes to Chanaka and Piyumi from Sri Lanka. All photos belong to Navigator360 and corresponding photographers. Downloading and using these photos without noticing owners is prohibited. Check About us page for more information. ]