The sacred temple of Tooth, or Dalada Maligawa, is, in essence, the heart of Buddhist faith in Sri Lanka. The temple enshrines the tooth relic of Lord Buddha, which is encased in a solid gold lotus flower and is open for public viewing only on specific days. It is not just the religious and cultural aspects that make this a must-visit in Sri Lanka, it is also the architectural aspect of it.
If you were to observe the outside, there is nothing remarkable about the temple, a collection of red-tiled buildings. But once you enter, there is a whole world of carvings, paintings, and sculpture to entice you, while the smell of Sal flowers would waft in through the open verandas. The temple is of two stories and has an area named “pathrippuwa”, which is like a gallery located on the upper floor. The temple premises is also home to the King’s palace, and in the middle of the lake that sits in front of the temple, you see where the King’s harem lived.
There is a special dress code required to enter the temple premises, where your shoulders to knees have to be covered. White or a lighter shade of clothing is preferred, and it is customary to offer lotus or frangipani flowers to the temple in respect. The city of Kandy holds the Temple in utmost regard as well. You will not find any houses, malls, hotels, or bungalows in Kandy that are taller than the tallest point of the temple. Thus, many of the accommodation options within the city seem cramped, while more spacious ones like Mountbatten Bungalow have opted to move beyond the city limits.
The best time to visit the Dalada Maligawa is during July when the procession takes place. It is arguably the most lavish religious affair in the island, with a procession of elephants, performers, and devotees taking to the streets for ten days at a stretch.
Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world. Google+