One of the most colourful festivals in Sri Lanka, the Kandy Esala Perahera has great religious significance too and offers a not to be missed, cultural experience.
Why it is Held
The Kandy Esala Perahera is held to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic believed to belong to Lord Buddha; it is kept at the Temple of the Tooth within easy reach for those based at a hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The festival also honours four deities namely the Goddess Pattini and the Gods Kataragama, Natha and Vishnu.
Location & Period
The festival which features various processions takes place in and around the Temple of the Tooth; travellers staying at hotels such as Hunas Falls can easily plan a visit here during this time. It is held annually for 10 days in the lunar month of “Esala”, generally between July and August.
The first five nights are for the “Kumbal Perahera” and these processions are also associated with bringing good fortune to infants and driving out evil spells. The next five nights are for the “Randoli Perahera” where the Sacred Tooth Relic is paraded along the streets with great pageantry and with the last night being the grandest of all.
One of the best things to do in Kandy is to witness the Esala Perahera first-hand; you will get to see many elephants dressed in ceremonial costumes parading through the streets along with all manner of performers; these include traditional dancers, acrobats, fire-eaters, jugglers, drummers, whip-crackers and more!