The Esala Perahera is known to be the most important religious procession in Asia and will take place between the 20th and the 30th of August 2015. This celebration is held every year during the Esala full moon, in July or August. The sacred city of Kandy lives at the pace of this spectacular event through ten night Perahera (processions) that bring many pilgrims and tourist every year.
Celebrating the relic of the tooth
Every night, a replica of the holy Tooth of Lord Buddha is taken on a dignified elephant with tusks, the “Maligawa tusker”. The tooth is taken around the people who worship it. The relic arrived in Sri Lanka in the Princess Hemamala’s hair during the 4th century. This tooth was preciously kept through history and represented a symbol of sovereignty. Its spiritual and political aura raised some envy. It was only after many peregrinations, from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa through Yapahuva and a few journeys to India that the Tooth landed in Kandy in 1592 where it remained to this day. When the British Empire removed the last Singhalese king in the beginning of the XIXth century, the tooth, until then kept by the king, was given to the Buddhist priesthood of Kandy.
Ten nights of majestic processions
During ten nights, the Perahera take place in a stunning processions until the last one, the “Randolhi Perahera” on the 29th of August which is the night of the full moon.
Hundreds of thousand people hurry to the nicely set balconies to get the best view over the beautiful procession. At this time of the year, any slightly higher spot located on procession’s way is a treasure! It is safer to book a seat to watch this long ceremony in the most comfortable way.
Priests, flag bearer, myriads of dancers, acrobats, drummers, fire dancers and stunningly dressed elephants walk to the sound of the music for a breathtaking and colorful show. This celebration is absolutely magnificent and its organization won’t cease to impress you. Thousands of artists travel from all over the country to contribute to this spectacular event. It almost seems like all the energy and fervor of the Sri Lankan people is condensed in this exceptional moment that reveals the treasure of Sri Lankan traditions.
The Esala Perahera ends with a day time Perahera, the Dhawal Perahera, on the 30th of August.
If you have already planned your trip to Sri Lanka for August, include the Esala Perahera to your itinerary and if you haven’t selected your next destination, check our program « Nature and culture of Sri Lanka » http://www.shantitravel.com/en/sri-lanka-maldives/nature-and-culture-of-sri-lanka/