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 present
house, the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy, Sri Lanka is considered the foremost sacred place of worship in the
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
Tentative dates of the Kandy Esala Perahera 2021
from 08th July - 23rd August 2021. (Subject to change).
||Kapsituvima (Planting of the 'Kapa')
to 12th August 2021
||Internal Perahera of Four Devales
Perahera (Water Cutting Ceremony "Diya
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
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
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