Last Sinhalese Kingdom “Kandy”

A world Heritage city and last capital of the sri lanka surrounded by mountains. And its beauty is enhanced by the artificial lake and the river Mahaweli and Peradeniya Botanical Garden.The geographical location of kandy was nature fortress for had been build in a valley surrounded by three mountain ranges; Udawatta kale, Hanthana range and Bahirawakanda range.

The kandy is a version of “kanda uda rata” (the country over the mountains) in sinhala language it’s called “maha nuwara” which means the great and big city. The sri Dalada Maligawa, which enshrines the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, is the holiest shrine in the Buddist world and to the Buddhist people in the world.

The Sacred Tooth Relic has the power in sri lanka, it means everywhere in the country and everything come with its honor,  education system, political, socialisam , culture, traditional and even king also has power till to he had authority of The Sacred Tooth Relic,when British invaded kandy kindoms but the religious services in connection with it were conducted without  any break even after the Kandyan convention in 1815, and its being continued under the leadership of its three chied custodians, the most venerable Mahanayake of the two chapter of Malwatta and Asgiriya, and the civil people’s authority belongs to Diaywadana Nilamea in whose charge it has been palced.before that The Sacred Tooth Relic, which is the Buddha’s left canine was brought to here during the king of Kisthiri Megavanna (301-328 B.C) by prince Dantha and princess Hemamala from the kingdom of Kalinga in India. Since then it was shrine in royal place under every king in past 2500 years. The Sacred Tooth Relic has been protected by every Buddhist people and every king and all Buddhist devotees. Kings, who built temples for the The Sacred Tooth Relic within the royal palace always consider it is more important.

When the kingdom was changed due to political instability the Sacred Tooth Relic was removed from Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Ruhuna, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Gampola, Kurunegala, kottee, seethawaka and finally into Kandy kingdom. The Sacred Tooth Relic has been kept in specially constructed building. Where it had been conserved ever since.

The sri Dalada Maligawa

The sri Dalada Maligawa, the temple of The Sacred Tooth Relic of the Gauthama a world heritage site and is visited by Buddhists the world over. The Sacred relic was brought to Sri Lanka by Princess Hemamala & Prince Dantha from the city of Kalinga in ancient India, during the reign of King Keerthi Sri Meghavarna (Kithsirimevan 301 -328). It became a symbol of Sri Lankan kings and was preciously guarded in a special shrine built within the precincts of the royal palace, wherever the capital was located. The ruins of such edifices remain in ancient capitals of Anuradapura, Pollonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Kotte and Gampola. While in Kandy the last Kingdom the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic continues to be the greatest shrine to receive the utmost veneration of the Buddhist world.

The first “Dalada Madura” in Kandy, which housed the Sacred Tooth Relic was built by King Wimaladharmasuriya the first during his reign from year 1592 – 1604. History reveals that this was destroyed by the Portuguese during their invasions. The second temple was built in the same location by King Rajasinghe the Second during his reign from 1635 – 1687, which was burnt by the Dutch. The Dalada history says in year 1687 King Wimaladharmasuriya the Second built a 3 storeyed Dalada Madura and performed Dalada rituals with great devotion but with time the building was decayed and destroyed. Later his son King Sri Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe who reigned from 1707 – 1739 built the 2 storeyed Dalada Madura which one can see today. The South Indian Kings who ruled the country from Senkadagala renovated and protected the shrine which was built by King Narendrasinghe.
The temple was finely renovated and beautified by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe to its present appearance. Paththirippuwa or the Octagonal Pavilion was constructed by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe who reigned from year 1798 – 1815. Its has been build on duel bridges aand has eight doors for entrance,the roof of Octagonal roof also with eight pillars with grate shape. Now its been used as the library of temple of tooth and people could visit it on pooja time, it has protected books and Statues , King used this place to watch the Dalada Procession and address the nation.

Puja timings: 5.30-6.45am, 9.30-11am & 6.30-8pm.  It doesn’t make sense to come outside these times, because you’d be missing out on the action. Only during the puja, the chamber where the Tooth Relic would be opened, and also another small room where a Buddha statue is. (Halfway between the first and second floor of the main building). I would say, please reach within the first 15 minutes of the Puja, to allow the freelance guides to explain to you about the ceremonies and the history, and also allow you to get a good spot (in front of the chamber) to snap valuable pictures before the devotees start to offer the items and blocking the line of sight.

The Kandy Esala Procession

The Kandy Esala Procession claims to be the most splendid visual celebration in Sri Lanka. Its festivities continue for ten days, so don’t rush and save at least three days to savor the cultural rituals and explore the World Heritage-listed Kandy. the purpose of the Kandy Esala Perahera Procession is to beseech blessings of the gods to obtain rain for the cultivation of crops and to enrich the lands of the kingdom.

Everything in sri Lanka , culture, politics, economic art, and education come under the Kandy Temple. in 2022 the procession was held on the 1712th time,

The Kandy Esala Procession, also known as the Festival of the Tooth, is one of the greatest Buddhist holidays in the country, A historical procession to pay respect to the Sacred Tooth Relic is held annually in July or August on the Full Moon Poya Day. The festival is all about hundreds of traditional drummers, local traditional dancers singers, elephants, and tuskers adorned with ceremonial costumes, the crowd comes with the procession from schools, forces teams children, and especially prisoners from around prisons, everyone got lifetime opportunity to serve the Lord Buddha.

The Esala Perahera in Kandy is celebrated to honor the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four ‘Guardian’ Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini.

those Guardians are God Natha who will be the next Buddha, The second procession is from the Natha Devale, which faces the Sri Dalada Maligawa and is said to be the oldest building in Kandy and the temple area, dating back to the 14th Century. God of Katharagama, dedicated to the identified with the warrior god. Pattini Devale (Pattini being a goddess associated with the cure of infectious diseases and called upon in times of drought and famine), This is the only procession that has women dancers.

The beast’s sense of the solemnity of the procession and the reverence in which the Sacred Tooth Relic is held could hardly be bettered even by a human itself. Held high over the Tusker is a canopy while the Tusker’s walking path is covered by a ream of white cloth called pavada. The devotees, spectators, foreign tourists and all distinguished guests stand steadfast while the Maligawa Tusker carrying the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha passes them. The Tusker is followed by two long chains of vibrant dancers, on each side of the road, facing each other with a team of drummers in the middle forming another column. At the end of the retinue is the Custodian of the Temple of the Tooth titled Diyawadana Nilame, dressed in traditional regalia of the high officials of kings, who reigned the medieval kingdom of Kandy.

The Esala celebrations typically end with a water-cutting ceremony (also called the diya-kepeema ritual), where people literary cut the water to pray for good harvests. Locals believe that the water collected at the diya keeping is sacred and can get rid of evil. Therefore, they will often collect this water at one spot or sprinkle themselves with it. after this tradition, the rain will obtain at perfect times for the land.

Note that the festival gets more vibrant and crowded with each day. To get a good viewing spot, you’ll have to arrive at least 3-4 hours before the start. Also, if you wish to enter the temples, remember to cover up—you won’t be able to go in with your open shoulders, waist, or knees exposed. Bringing a sarong or scarf is an excellent solution.

Have you ever wondered how many elephants take part in the Kandy procession? Then we have an approximate answer for you – It is the only Perahera in the world that is held with the participation of more than eighty elephants and tuskers adorned with ceremonial costumes, hundreds of drummers, dancers, and singers. the Maligawa Tusker carrying the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha passes them. Besides having other two tuskers giving hom security in proudly,  the Maligawa Tusker who is caparisoned, robed, and illuminated, walks majestically in supreme grace and great pride carrying the resplendent golden casket called the ‘Karaduwa’ sheltered with a canopy. The golden casket contains the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. this tusker considers the best Elephant in the world, last year Maligawe Tusker was passed away, which had the longest tusk in the world, in addition past the previous tusker have own museum next to the last Palace of kandy kingdom.

In the procession, wipe crackers come as the first event and in history, they come first in the street to announce the people and inform them, The  king on the way behind, then comes Fire Dancers, they invite to the Nature, fire symbolizes the lightning thunder and rain,

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