Kandy’s Temple of the ToothBack
In the streets of Kandy that surround the Royal Palace complex, white-clad pilgrims gather with frangipani and lotus blossoms every day. They make their offerings to the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy, a major hub for Buddhist pilgrims and aptly home to Lord Buddha’s left upper canine tooth. Legend has it that the treasured relic was taken from Buddha’s funeral pyre in India and secretly brought into Sri Lanka in 313 AD, concealed in the hair of Princess Hemamali. The political status of a city was once determined by the location of the tooth, the 17th century temple itself stands alongside royal residences dating back to Kandy’s time as Sri Lanka’s last ancient capital. Today the city is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site mainly because of its notable temple.
Enter Sri Dalada Maligawa at the impressive Mahawahalkada steps and explore the vibrant, scented spaces of the most iconic temple in Sri Lanka with your knowledgeable host. Already with offering in hand from one of the many flower vendors outside, proceed through the ornate passageways which lead into the heart of the building. Kandyan architecture houses intricately adorned scenes from the Kandy Esala Perahera festival and ornate Buddhist-influenced décor. Your host will guide you to the main shrine to present your offering alongside worshippers from far and wide as they make puja (prayers and offerings). As you explore the rest of complex, hear more about Kandy, its festivals and the Royal Palace’s place in Sri Lankan history.