Explore the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) is located in the center of the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It was originally built by the Kandyan Kings between 1687 and 1707 to house and honor the sacred tooth relic. The temple is part of the royal palace complex, which is over 300 years old and has seen many a king’s rise and fall.

Explore the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka
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The Sri Dalada Maligawa enshrines a well-secured golden casket containing a tooth believed to be the canine tooth of the Buddha. After the Buddha’s cremation, four canine teeth were taken from the ashes. These teeth are the holiest relics of Buddhism, and the fourth tooth is enshrined at the Sri Dalada Maligawa.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. It is a place of great reverence for Buddhists, and millions of pilgrims visit the temple every year to pay their respects to the sacred tooth relic.

The History of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Explore the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka
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The tooth relic was brought to Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD and was placed in a shrine in the city of Polonnaruwa. Over time, the tooth relic became a symbol of Sri Lankan royalty and was believed to have the power to legitimize kings and rulers. In the 16th century, the tooth relic was moved to Kandy, which was then the last independent kingdom in Sri Lanka.

The temple that houses the tooth relic was built in the 17th century by King Vimaladharmasuriya I, and it has been expanded and renovated by successive rulers.

The temple has played an important role in Sri Lanka’s political and cultural development. It has been the site of several important rituals and festivals, including the annual Esala Perahera festival, which attracts pilgrims from all over the island. The temple has also faced many challenges over the years.

It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times during invasions and conflicts, and it was severely damaged in a terrorist attack in 1998. However, the temple has always been restored to its former glory and remains an important symbol of Sri Lankan culture and tradition.

The Architecture and Symbolism of the Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Architecture and Symbolism of the Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a masterpiece of Sri Lankan architecture and design. The temple complex is home to several buildings and structures, each with its own unique features and significance.

The main entrance to the temple complex is through the Moat and Wall, which were built in the 18th century. The Moat and Wall are lined with beautiful wooden doors, which are also from the 18th century.

Beyond the Moat and Wall is the main shrine chamber, where the tooth relic is kept. The shrine chamber is a two-story building with a sloping roof and a red and white color scheme. The walls of the shrine room are adorned with exquisite paintings and frescoes depicting episodes from Buddhist mythology.

The roof of the shrine room is supported by a series of beautifully carved wooden pillars, each of which has a symbolic meaning. The ceiling is made up of wooden panels painted with vibrant motifs and patterns. The area around the shrine also has several smaller shrines and altars, each dedicated to a different god or aspect of Buddhist doctrine.

The Architecture and Symbolism of the Temple of the Tooth Relic

In addition to the shrine room, the temple complex also houses several other significant monuments and buildings. The Royal Palace is a large rectangular tower with a red-tiled roof and intricate woodwork decorations. The Octagon is a two-story pavilion with a dome-shaped ceiling that was built in the 19th century and houses a collection of ancient antiques and relics.

Another important part of the temple complex is the audience hall, which was built in the 18th century and served as a meeting place for the monarch and his council. The audience hall is a large rectangular tower with a high wooden ceiling and intricate woodwork carvings depicting historical and mythological subjects from Sri Lanka.

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. It is a testament to the skill and artistry of Sri Lankan architects and craftsmen, and it is a living symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Rituals and traditions at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Rituals and traditions at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Tooth Relic’s daily ceremonies combine ancient and modern practices. For example, the temple’s entrance is announced by the sound of drums and conch shells. Visitors can then observe the morning ceremony, which involves presenting flowers and incense to the tooth relic.

Throughout the day, worshippers can engage in puja, a prayer ritual. Buddhist texts are chanted, and flowers, incense, and other objects are offered to the tooth relic during puja. Visitors are also welcome to make donations to the monks who live at the temple.

Esala Perahera is one of the most significant festivals at the temple. Held in Kandy throughout July and August, the ten-day festival features nightly processions with dancers, drummers, and elephants, among other cultural events and activities.

How to Get to the Temple of the Tooth Relic

Kandy to Ella Train Journey - 1st Class Tips and Advice

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is located in the heart of Kandy, about 2 kilometers from the Kandy railway station. Here are the transportation options to get there from Colombo:

  • Bus: The bus journey takes 3 hours and costs Rs. 434 per person. The buses are usually crowded, but they are a cheap and efficient way to travel.
  • Train: The train journey takes 2 hours and costs Rs. 2,000 per person. Colombo to Kandy train journey is more scenic than the bus journey and the trains are also more comfortable and have less crowded.
  • Motorbike: You can rent a motorbike for Rs. 2,000 per day and drive there yourself, enjoying the scenic route. However, it is important to be aware of the traffic conditions and to drive safely.
  • Taxi: A taxi from Colombo will cost Rs. 12,000, depending on the time of year. It is the most expensive way to get to Kandy from Colombo, but it is also the most convenient.

Entrance fee of Temple of the Tooth

Sri Lanka Archaeology - Temple of Tooth paintings

The entrance fee for the temple is Rs. 2,500 for visitors from other countries. The temple of tooth is open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily.

There are three daily ceremonies at the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

  • The morning ceremony is held at 5:30 AM. It involves presenting flowers and incense to the tooth relic.
  • The afternoon ceremony is held at 11:30 AM. It involves chanting Buddhist texts and offering prayers.
  • The evening ceremony is held at 6:30 PM. It involves a procession of the tooth relic around the temple.

The Best Time to Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, Kandy

The best time to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is during the off-season, which is from March to May and September to November. During these months, the crowds are smaller and the weather is more pleasant.

The temple is also crowded during the following times:

Esala Perahera festival

The Best Time to Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, Kandy

Kandy Esala Perahera is held in July or August and is one of the most popular tourist events in Sri Lanka. The festival features a procession of elephants, dancers, and musicians.

Vesak Day

This is a Buddhist holiday that celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha. It is celebrated in May or June.

Poson Poya

This is a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated in July or August.

If you are planning to visit the temple during the peak season, it is advisable to book your tickets in advance. You should also be prepared for crowds and long queues.

Tips for Visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic

Tips for Visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic
  • Dress modestly: Shoulders and knees should be covered.
  • Remove your shoes: Shoes are not allowed inside the temple.
  • Be respectful: The Temple of the Tooth Relic is a sacred site, so be respectful of the monks and other visitors.
  • Do not take photos or videos: Photography and videography are not allowed inside the shrine chamber.
  • Avoid visiting during peak times: The temple is busiest during the morning pujas and the Esala Perahera festival. If you want to avoid crowds, try to visit during the afternoon or evening.
  • Bring a sarong: If you are not wearing long pants, you can bring a sarong to cover your legs.
  • Be prepared to be searched: Security guards will search your bags and belongings before you enter the temple.
  • Be patient: The temple can be crowded, so be patient and wait your turn to pay your respects to the tooth relic.

FAQs

What is the Temple of the Tooth Relic?

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is one of the most important Buddhist shrines in the world, as it houses the tooth relic of the Buddha.

What is the history of the Temple of the Tooth Relic?

The tooth relic is said to have been brought to Sri Lanka from India in the 4th century AD. It has been kept at the Temple of the Tooth Relic ever since. The temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, but the tooth relic has always been kept safe.

What is the significance of the tooth relic?

The tooth relic is considered to be a sacred object by Buddhists. It is believed to be a link to the Buddha himself, and it is said to bring good luck and protection to those who see it.

What is the Esala Perahera festival?

The Esala Perahera festival is a ten-day festival held in Kandy in July or August. It is one of the most important festivals in Sri Lanka, and it is dedicated to the tooth relic. The festival features a procession of elephants, dancers, and drummers, as well as other cultural events.

How can I get to the Temple of the Tooth Relic?

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is located in the heart of Kandy. It is about 2 kilometers from the Kandy railway station. You can get to the temple by bus, train, or taxi.

What are the opening hours of the Temple of the Tooth Relic?

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily.

How much does it cost to visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic?

The entrance fee to the Temple of the Tooth Relic is Rs. 2,500 for tourist.

Where can I stay near the Temple of the Tooth Relic?

There are many hotels and guesthouses near the Temple of the Tooth Relic. You can find a list of accommodation options online or by asking your travel agent.

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