One of the most significant and vibrant cultural festivals in Sri Lanka, the Kandy Esala Perahera offers some fascinating insights into the country’s rich heritage and is not to be missed!
Why it’s Held
The main origins of this festival are linked with Buddhism; it not only commemorates the first teachings of Lord Buddha following his enlightenment but is also held to pay homage to a sacred tooth relic of his which is kept in Kandy. Additionally, the festival honours four guardian gods and the Goddess Pattini too.
Where it’s Held
The Esala Perahera is based around the Temple of the Tooth, one of the most popular places to visit in Kandy. The highlight is the processions which go along routes in and around the city which are lined with locals and foreigners alike. Check out sites like Kandy Escapes to find out more about this event and the historical city.
When it’s Held
The processions take place over 10 days between July and August each year. The dates are decided according to the lunar month referred to as “Esala” in Sinhalese. As per the days of the traditional lunar calendar, the end of the festival coincides with a full moon.
What to Expect
Amongst the key attractions in Kandy, the Esala Perahera offers spectators much to witness at the various processions; the grander of these is the Randoli Perahera on the last five days. Expect to see, elephants draped in colourful costumes, jugglers, fire-breathers, dancers, drummers, acrobats, singers and many more.