The Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic located in Kandy City, was built around the temple and the Kandy Lake.
Built within the Royal palace complex it houses the sacred tooth relic of the lord Buddha. The relic has played a major role in Sri Lankan politics since the early age. It was believed that the person secured the relic has the power to rule the country and becomes the protector of the religion and everything comes within. Kandy is a city surrounded by huge mountain ranges and difficult to approach terrains, hence Kandy was chosen as the kingdom and stronghold to guard the Tooth Relic during the times of Portuguese, Dutch and British conquests.
The temple is maintained and oversee by the Malwatta and Asgiri Chapters and rituals are performed three times daily in the inner chamber of the temple, at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. The main event of the temple is the annual Kandy Perahera which happens every year during July/August months. And it is considered as the grandest and the most famous event in Sri Lanka, commemorating the first teaching given by the Buddha after he attained enlightenment. The Perahera is held in 3 stages, Kumbal Perahera, Randoli Perahera, Maha Randoli Perahera and visitors from around the world comes to witness this fascinating event every year, flooding the whole city of Kandy.
Kandy Perahera is a must see sight, featuring bright golden and silver decorated majestic elephants and stunning traditional Kandyan dancers, Fire Breathers, Drummers and Jugglers followed by the Sacred Tooth Relic carried on an elephant back.
The temple Architecture is a best example of palace architecture in kings’ era. And the most iconic architecture features are the water wave wall, with holes to hold oil lamps, moonstone carved in Kandyan architecture style, Golden Canopy built over the main shrine and the golden fence which encircles the main shrine. The Tooth Relic itself is encased in seven golden caskets which is engraved with precious gemstones.
The large carved entrance arch with its elephants on either side is the first thing a visitor sees as they approach the entrance gates which lie over the moat. The moonstone which is carved at the entrance as a welcome mat is similar to a full moon cut in half with rows of animals and other carvings depicted in concentric rows.The Temple of the Tooth is an art and history lover’s paradise.