Kandy is located in the central province of the paradise island of Sri Lanka; the sacred city of Kandy is another city you should never miss if you visit Sri Lanka. This city is known to be the second-largest city in the country. The city became prominent in history during 1470, as it was the country’s capital by then. Also, the medieval grid city was created next to the sacred temple area to accommodate the royal family and the nobles. It was a unique concept in South Asia. The grid city contains 486 historic buildings. Till 1815, Kandy remained the civic center of Sri Lanka until the British conquered the island.
Why is the sacred city of Kandy so special?
The city of Kandy is a name that comes to mind when thinking about The Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic. Pilgrims from all over the world visit this place to get blessings, and it is never out of Buddhist devotees. Apart from that, the city of Kandy is famous because of the Annual colorful procession to exhibit the secret tooth relic in August each year. This, too, is one of the country’s key tourist attractions.
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
The Sri Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic, is filled with Buddhists in Sri Lanka every day. Buddhists who seek blessings visit this place at least once a year.
This temple houses the left tooth of Lord Buddha. This sacred relic is venerated by thousands of native and foreign devotees daily. It was named one of the world heritages by UNESCO in 1988. This also has immense cultural value. The temple’s architecture is one of the most exciting things to observe. The Kandiyan architectural characteristics can be well regarded in the Dalada Mandiraya, which houses the Sacred Tooth Relic.
If you look closely, you will realize that the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic has been built near the Royal Palace, which is located North of the Temple of the Tooth. The famous Kandy Lake, also known as the Kiri Muhuda, is to the South, and the Natha and Paththini Devala are to the West. The temple is decorated with Gold, silver, Bronze, and Ivory decorations.
A bit from the history of Sri Dalada Maligawa…
According to historical legends, Prince Dantha and Princess Hemammala brought the sacred tooth relic to the island. They were descendants from India. This is one of the most particular incidents that happened during the time of King Keerthi Sri Meghawarana. The sacred tooth relic is specially guarded in a special chamber. Until today, the holy tooth relic continues to be the most honored and worshiped whiff of the Buddhist devotees of the island and the world.
The temple was renovated from time to time by different kings who ruled the country and, after that, by the governments who came into power. Protecting the sacred tooth relic and conducting the rituals in the most precise way is carried out by the authorities without a break. It happens even today under the strict surveillance of the three primary custodians and the most Venerable Maha nayaka theros, the Asgiriya chapters, and the lay custodian, the Diyawadana Nilame.
The Dalada Perahara
Worshiping the sacred tooth relic is considered worshipping the living Lord Buddha by Buddhist devotees. For this very reason, the thevava is carried out each day perfectly.
The Dlada Perahara or the Esala Perahara is carried out in July/ August annually. It is known as the epitome of the Buddhist celebrations of the country. These rituals and Poojas were carried out during the period of every king. For the country’s king to be considered legal, he must have the Sacred Tooth relic under his power and ownership. The kings took all the trouble to protect it during their ruling period. Also, it is considered a symbol of true sovereignty.
The Esala perahara is carried out to pay homage to the sacred tooth relic. Many believe it has the miraculous power to create timely rain and good luck that would bring more harvest and prosperity to the country.
Throughout history, till today, the Esala perahara is carried out with so much hour and respect throughout several days with many exciting events like the dancing, fire displays, and many others. Among them, the walk of the sacred tusker of Dalada Maligawa with the sacred casket that carried the tooth relic is worth watching. This is known to be a unique event in the country. The processions are the most colorful event apart from the Wesak festival. It is also the oldest cultural event of the country that continues to show the culture and the glamour of the nation’s traditions.
The buildings of the city of Kandy show very distinct features of architecture. The vast number of shrines and temples have unique features that could only be seen in the Kandian period of Sri Lankan history. When you look closely at the details, it shows the significance of India and its unique Sri Lankan elements. But overall, it is a true beauty. Each of these buildings, with its unique architectural features, is one of the major draws for tourists worldwide.
Do not forget to visit the four devales too!
The Natha Devale
The Natha Devale is one of the oldest shrines of the Kandian period. The style represents the South Indian influence. It is built in stone with intricate details of decoration and ornamentation throughout. Also, there are many bronze sculptures to honor the gods. But the entrance has an elaborate decor of Singhalese designs.
The Vishnu Devale
The Vishnu Devale is also one of the prominent shrines dedicated to Vishnu. The carved steps and the drumming hall are the most significant Architectural features.
The Kataragama Devale
The Kataragama Devale is another building that shows the beauty of the architecture of the Kandyan period.
The Paththini Devale
The Paththini Devale, dedicated to the goddess Paththini, is the simplest and plain of all.
Remember to visit the two monasteries, Asgiri and Malwatte!
These are known as the headquarters of the monks who belong to the two main Nakayas [ orders of monks]. The Malwatte Maha vihara is often a tooth relic across Kandy Lake. The Asgirya temple is located in the Variyapola Sri Sumangala Mawatha.
Apart from all the Buddhist shrines, the St Paul’s church is another building with interesting architectural features. It was built for British officials and is just west of the sacred Tooth Relic temple. The Queen’s Hotel, initially the residence of the Governor of Ceylon, is another building that depicts the beauty of Kandian Architecture.
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the true identity of the Sacred City of Kandy
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic has a Universal importance to all the Buddhist devotees all over the world. Out of all the unique features, the Paththirippuwa stands out. According to historical resources, the Paththirippuwa was designed by a renowned Sinhalese architect, Devendra Mulachari. The Moat was added later during the time of King Sri Vikrama Rjasinghe.
Apart from all the architectural features, the Kandyan art is remarkable. The style is unique, with only specific colors used throughout. These can be seen in the Tooth Relic Temple and other temples constructed during that time. These paintings mostly depict the Jathaka stories. And they, too, have British significance very lightly. When you closely look through them, you can see the little details in the paintings.
The Bottom Line
The city of Kandy treasures the essence of Sri Lankan history, culture, and traditions. It is a city that a traveler should always take advantage of.