Esala Perahera in Kandy 2023
in 6 months
Estimated attendance: 700k visitors annually.
is one of the most spectacular and grand festivals in Sri Lanka, celebrated annually in the city of Kandy. The festival is a celebration of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, which is housed in the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy. The festival is also a celebration of Sri Lankan culture and heritage and is an event that draws thousands of visitors from around the world each year.
When it's Esala Perahera in Kandy 2023?
31 Jul 2023
09 Aug 2023
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History of the Festival
The Esala Perahera has a rich history that dates to the fourth century AD. The festival is believed to have originated when the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from India. The tooth relic was said to have been brought to the island by Princess Hemamali, who was the daughter of King Guhasiva of Kalinga, India. She concealed the tooth relic in her hair bun and brought it to Sri Lanka to protect it from being seized by invading armies.
The tooth relic was initially housed in various temples in the island, but it was eventually brought to the city of Kandy, where it was placed in the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa). The temple was built to house the relic, and it has been a sacred site for Buddhists ever since. The Esala Perahera festival was first held in the fourth century AD to celebrate the arrival of the tooth relic in Sri Lanka, and it has been held annually ever since.
The Festival Procession
The Esala Perahera is a grand and colorful festival that features a spectacular procession that winds its way through the streets of Kandy. The procession is led by the Maligawa Tusker, a majestic elephant that is adorned with colorful decorations and carries the casket containing the tooth relic. The casket is carried on the back of the elephant, and it is surrounded by a group of drummers, dancers, and other performers.
The procession also includes a few other elephants, dressed in colorful costumes, and adorned with lights. The elephants are accompanied by traditional drummers and dancers, who perform a variety of traditional dances and drumming routines. The procession also includes several other performers, such as stilt walkers, fire-breathers, and acrobats.
The procession is also accompanied by a few other traditional arts and crafts, such as the Kandy martial arts, traditional Kandyan dancers and the traditional firewalking ceremony. The procession is also accompanied by many people, who come to watch the festival and to pay their respects to the tooth relic.
The Highlight of the Festival
The highlight of the
festival is the Kumbal Perahera, which is also known as the "water cutting ceremony". This ceremony is held on the full moon day of the Esala month, and it is a spectacular event that is attended by thousands of people. During the ceremony, a traditional oil lamp is lit and carried to the Mahaweli River, where it is used to light many other oil lamps that are floating on the river.
The ceremony is accompanied by a few traditional rituals, such as the lighting of traditional oil lamps, the offering of flowers and other offerings to the tooth relic, and the chanting of traditional prayers and hymns.