Temple of the Tooth

Kandy is famous for precious gems that come in many shades and colors. But the most famous gem embedded in the green hills of Kandy is no doubt the white Temple of the Tooth which houses Lord Buddha’s Tooth. And so like hundreds of devotees and visitors descending on the city, Bob and I aimed for the white washed walls of the holy temple cornering one side of Lake Kandy. As I watched people carry little baskets with pink and white flower petal offerings, I thought of what I had read about the Tooth. The sacred Tooth arrived in Sri Lanka from India in the 4th century for safe keeping due to conflicts in India. As with many sacred items the tooth has seen many wars, invasions, thefts, burnings and other conflicts, but is now safely entombed in Kandy. In the 17th century a temple was erected to house the holy relic, which has been flooded ever since with thousands of devotees and visitors daily who pay their respects to the holy Tooth. But nobody ever gets to see the sacred relic of the Enlightened One for it is kept in a two-storey shrine under a golden canopy and is encased within a set of seven gem studded gold caskets representing the seven levels of consciousness. Once a year during the “Esala Perahera,” Sri Lanka’s biggest annual celebration, a replica of the Tooth along with the seven bejeweled caskets is displayed. This ten day festival draws a staggering crowd of a million people. During this colorful celebration city wide parades showcasing elaborate dancers, drummers and elephants mark the festivities.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Zea says:

    WOW! So beautiful!

  2. I was there five years ago and this brought back some great memories! Great post and beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing!

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