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     Mahanuwara (Kandy) Esala Perahera 2021: 13th August - 23rd August 2021

Start Date/Time:
Friday, August 13, 2021 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
End Date/Time:
Monday, August 23, 2021 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Recurring Event:
One time event
Normal Priority
Traditional Convention

The Mahanuwara (Kandy) Esala Perahera Procession is considered one of the most beautiful of such processions in all of Asia and is hosted by the Sri Dalanda Maligawa, the Temple of Tooth Relic. It is the most valuable cultural event of the country in which almost all the traditional performances and arts are showcased. This world-famous Buddhist Festival event is held annually in the world heritage city of Kandy.The 2021 Mahanuwara (Kandy) Esala Perahera is held between 08th August - 23rd August 2021.

Every year almost a million people descend on Kandy to pay homage and to view the hundreds of traditional dancers, drummers and chieftains in elaborate outfits, plus over 100 majestic elephants on parade. Its origins are traced back to 300 BC.


The Sacred Tooth Relic (Dalada) of the Buddha is the most venerated object of worship for Buddhists. Its Esala_DiyawadanaNilame2010present house, the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy, Sri Lanka is considered the foremost sacred place of worship in the Buddhist world.


Nikini Full Moon Poya Day falls on Saturday, August 22, 2021.

The Budhdha advised his disciples to spread the Buddhist Doctrine and the Message of Noble Dhamma to Mankind in a Nikini full moon Poya Day.
Nikini Poya is connected with “Vassana Kala” or the Rainy Season - which commence from Esala Poya.
Another important significant event that took palace on Nikini Full Moon Day was the holding of the first Dhamma Sanghayana (Convocation), or Sanga Council, led by Maha Kassapa Thera, three months after the passing away of The Buddha. Five hundred Arahant Thera’s participated in the convocation which was held over seven months in the cave at the foot of the Rajagahanuvara Rock



 Tentative dates of the Kandy Esala Perahera 2021  from  08th July - 23rd August 2021. (Subject to change).


Date Event
08th August 2021 Kapsituvima (Planting of the 'Kapa')
09th August to 12th August 2021 Internal Perahera of Four Devales
13th August 2021 1st Kumbal Perahera
14th August 2021 2nd Kumbal Perahera
15th August 2021 3rd Kumbal Perahera
16th August 2021 4th Kumbal Perahera
17th August 2021 5th Kumbal Perahera
18th August 2021 1st Randoli Perahera
19th August 2021 2nd Randoli Perahera
20th August 2021 3rd Randoli Perahera
21st August 2021 4th Randoli Perahera
22nd August 2021 Final Randoli Perahera
23rd August 2021 Day Perahera (Water Cutting Ceremony "Diya Kepeema")


The Kandy Perahera Procession hosted by the Sri Dalanda Maligawa, the Temple of Tooth Relic, is the most valuable cultural event of the country in which almost all the traditional performances and arts are showcased. This world famous Buddhist Festival event is held annually in the world heritage city of Kandy. 

This event commences during the month of August  and continues for almost ten days with all its splendor and rich with Kandyan traditional dances, dancers with elegant costumes, decorated elephants in their prolific garments etc. 
The tourist attraction is maximum to the Kandy city during this time of the year. Tourists from all over the world targets Sri Lanka especially during this period of the year just to take a glimpse of this ancient Sri Lankan artistic pageant. The hotels are fully booked around the city and the city is over brimmed with the crowds gathered for this spectacular event. 
Most of the local spectators watch this event seated on the pavement whence the procession moves ahead on the road. Seats can also be booked via your hotel or travel agent and the seats are arranged in the buildings located in the path where the procession is headed. No fees will be charged from the spectators to see the event. However, you will have to incur a cost for a comfortable seat for your convenience.

The Kandy Perahera Procession starts at auspicious time. The spectators take their seats at least 2 to 3 hours before the Perahera procession arrives. You are also required to carry a small basket of food items since the event lasts for 4 to 5 hours in which you will find difficulties to move much to look for food. You better hurry up to arrange your accommodation before you leave for this much sought after event. 


The Kandy Perahera Procession comprises of

The Kandy Perahera Procession has two series. The first is “Kumbal Perahera Procession” and the most magnificent is the second; “Randoli Perahera Procession”. The procession starts with the ritual of “Kap situwima”; planting of Jack Tree and ends with the ritual of “Diya Kepima”. The procession of Kandy Perahera has five processions combined to represent 5 related sacred shrines. They are the procession of the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, Shrine of God Natha dedicated to Hindu God Natha, the Shrine of God Maha Vishnu dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu, the Shrine of God Katharagama dedicated to the God of Skanda, and the Shrine of Goddess Pattini dedicated to Hindu Goddess Pattini. The Procession of the Temple of Tooth Relic marches first followed by the other four processions of the four Hindu Shrines named above.
The Whip Crackers are found at the very beginning of the Procession of the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The whips are cracked to announce that the procession has begun. Starting from the beginning to end, the whips are cracked until the procession completes its root at the end.
Just after the Whip Crackers, a bunch of Flag Bearers in their decent costumes follow carrying the flags of the different Provinces and the Temples of the ancient Kandy city.
Next, the officials on elephant back, the Drummers playing different types of traditional drums such as “Kandyan Drums”, “Daula”, “Thammettam” follow. Next, traditional  players of many a traditional music instruments march along with the magnificent dancers.
The center of attraction of the procession is the tusker carrying the golden casket comprised of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha followed by the Custodian of the Temple of the Tooth “Diyawadana Nilame”, who bears the full responsibility of the procession function. This tusker privileged to carry the sacred tooth relic is said to be a special animal with certain merits and qualifications and the tusker is treated with much care for this.
The procession of Kataragama Shrine also captures attraction which includes interesting performances such as “Kavadi” which is known as the peacock dance. During the full time of the procession, the streets are lighted with the traditional koppara lamps and the fireworks are light to entertain the crowds gathered. The special costumes of the Maligawa officials, the magnificent robes of the elephants and the traditional dancing and music add to this splendor. The streets are also decorated to resemble the ancient time of Sri Lanka during the Perahera; procession season. You can also capture the glory of the city to your camera as you prefer. However, nothing will be at the cost of the safety of the spectators since the police of the town will be taking special care on the security of the spectators during this period of the year in Kandy. The President of Sri Lanka also participates at the occasion to honour performers for their talents and dedication to safeguard the traditional Sri Lankan arts and culture for the future generations. 


The Kandy Perahera and its history


Esala procession dates back to 3rd century BC. This procession has been commenced to request the Gods for rain fall during the month of Esala (July) which is the most essential source for an agriculture based country. When Princes Hemamala and Prince Dantha from India brought the tooth relic to Sri Lanka during the Sri Lankan King Kithsiri Meghawanna’s reign, the Dalanda Perahera procession combined with the said Esala Perahera procession and this procession calls for a history which dates back to the 4th century BC.
The Tooth Relic then became the symbol of the King of the country and it transferred from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, then to Dambadeniya and many other cities with the transfer of sovereignty. Finally it was brought to Kandy when the capital of country shifted to Kandy. The modern Perahera; procession has been seen from the reign of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe of the Kingdom of Kandy (1747 - 1782) Since then, the Kandy Perahera Procession has been held in Kandy city attracting tourists from all over the world. (courtesy of Travel To Sri Lanka )






Created by Web Editor On Tuesday, July 13, 2021