Sri Lanka’s Sacred Esala Perahera Festival

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According to Buddhist culture, the Sacred Tooth Relic (Dalada) of the Buddha is the most valued object of worship.  Currently the sacred tooth relic is in the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy, Sri Lanka.  As a result of this being the home of the object, Kandy is considered the foremost sacred place of worship in the Buddhist world.

 

As a part of Buddhist culture, there is a festival that takes place annually in Sri Lanka that is dedicated to this tooth.  Kandy Esala Perahera takes place over a ten-day period in July and/or August, during which the Sacred Tooth of Lord Buddha is adored with a series of great processions.  As a part of these sacred processions, temple chieftains, hundreds of drummers, dancers, torchbearers, and elephants walk through the streets each evening.

 

While the festival is deep rooted in Buddhist beliefs and culture, a lot of Kandy Esala Perahera sounds like the scene of a carnival with acrobats and festivities galore.  However, what sets this event apart even more is the elegantly decorated elephants that are part of the processions.  Richly decorated, they stride amongst the musicians, fire jugglers and torchbearers carrying gold and jewels.

 

This unique symbol of Sri Lanka is rich with a great deal of culture and is guaranteed not to disappoint the travel minded.