The Temple of the Tooth Relic houses what is said to be one of Buddha’s teeth; smuggled away to Sri Lanka from India in the hair of a princess to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy. The tooth was contained all over Sri Lanka by kings until it was finally brought to the hill country kingdom. Today it is a popular site for visits by both devotees of Buddhism and tourists alike.
After the tooth comes into the possession of Kalinga, India, its king Guhasiva sends it to the island with his children Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala in the 4th century. The tooth was delivered to the Anuradhapura kingdom and King Meghavanna built it a shrine. The tooth became a symbol of ascension to the throne and all the kings built it dagobas very close to the royal residence. Before the tooth came to the kingdom of Kandy, it was housed in Kotte.
Exploring the Complex
The temple complex is part of the royal palace. While most of the palace is out of bounds, you can visit the temple and the National Museum of Kandy, the International Buddhist Museum and old pavilions that the king used to hold meetings in among others.
The Esala Perahera
The best time to visit Kandy is during the Esala Perahera Festival in August. This annual festival parades the tooth relic through the streets of Kandy and the subsequent procession is quite a sight to see. Any and every Kandy hotel will be fully booked so make sure to book early on if you are planning to stay in a hotel like Kings Pavilion.
Intrigued by history, art, and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+