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Temple of Tooth Relic

The Dalada Maligawa a place by its own definition - Centrally located in Kandy town is surrounded by a breath taking atmosphere and picturesque, panoramic viewpoint. On the right side is the Unawatune Forest reserve and the great historical Kandy Lake towards the east. The great Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is considered as the living God by many Buddhists and a vast majority of mankind whose faith and honour lies with him.

In 4th century AD (301-328) during the era of King Kithsiri Mevan – the tooth relic was brought from the city of Kalinga by Prince Dantha and Princess Hem ...

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The Dalada Maligawa a place by its own definition - Centrally located in Kandy town is surrounded by a breath taking atmosphere and picturesque, panoramic viewpoint. On the right side is the Unawatune Forest reserve and the great historical Kandy Lake towards the east. The great Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is considered as the living God by many Buddhists and a vast majority of mankind whose faith and honour lies with him.

In 4th century AD (301-328) during the era of King Kithsiri Mevan – the tooth relic was brought from the city of Kalinga by Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamala and made to rest by King Kithsiri Mevan at Vihara Dhammachakra in a central location in town. This created a great change in Sri Lanka with the inception of the Dalada Maligawa. It was from this instance the Tooth Relic was made a symbol of royalty and all Kings made every effort towards honouring Buddhism and safekeeping it amidst all obstructions.


Later during the years due to the invasion from unforeseen enemies which took place from time to time, the need of transferring the relic arose. From Anurahapura, Polonnaruwa and from Dambadeniya and later to the Kingdom of Yapahuwa. Conquering all barriers the Dalada Maligawa was closely located to the King’s own palace providing utmost security and honour in every respect.
It was evident that our history lies not alongside a straight line but angled more curved towards the eastern side due to change of locations needed to be made towards its protection and utmost safekeeping.
In 1603 Portuguese made a fierce invasion and destroyed the Dalada Maligawa and during which the tooth relic was taken towards Meda Nuwara for its safekeeping. Later King Rajasinghe III, son of King Senerath rebuilt what was destroyed by the Portuguese and reconstructed it to a two-story Dalada Palace in which the tooth relic was laid. Later during the year 1687 King Wimaladharmasuriya II built a 3-storied building towards which a golden casket of 9 gems was offered by him towards the Dalada Samindu.


It was evident that in 1707 King Narendrasinghe (son of King Wimaladharmasuriya) who reigned then renovated the building for the safekeeping of the Tooth Relic.
It was also an apparent factor that in each of these eras there had been a Dalada Maligawa built according to its inheritance and its own specifications.
Also it was believed that the first Dalada Maligawa that was built where the present one exists was constructed by the first king of Kandy – King Wimaladharmasuriya I. Furthermore it was soon after the victory following a fierce battle, with the Portuguese at Danturai the Tooth Relic was hidden at Ratnapura, Delgamuwa inside a ‘kurakkan’ stone and brought forth towards the city of Senkadagala. This was deposited in a 2-storied palace closely located to the King’s own palace between 1593-95.


The Dalada Palace was initially built by his father and the Jathaka Katha were drawn on the walls.


The palace by the name of Paithirippuwa was constructed by the last King of Sri Lanka Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe in front of the 2-story building. It is believe that the Dalada Palace building was constructed according to conventional wattle and daub with the usage of kitul plates which was evident through the historical evidence.


Furthermore, above the Dalada Maligawa that exists at present, a golden roof was made along with a golden fence around the (maluwa) compound by President R. Premadasa in 1987. Also the 2nd floor of the recent Dalada Palace where the tooth relic is deposited towards the opposite side is an oblong shaped hall known as Kawakara Maduwa.


It is apparent that several escort buildings were bounded to Dalada Maligawa and were located within the complex of the palace which is Hewamandapaya, Palle Viharaya or Palingu Pilimaya (crystal statue) and huts for bhikkus under the Dalada theme. It is also believed that the present Dalada museum known as Aluth Maligawa was constructed during the era of the Diyawardena Nilame P.B. Nugawela. What consists of an office for the Diyawardena Nilame, a small chaitiya, stores and a kitchen which was built during the era of Dunuwila Diyawardena Nilame in 1663.


Also towards the opposite side of the Dalada Palace is where the Pathirippuwa is located in which lies the library area. Also close to the entrance of the palace is where the ‘Ethulweeny Doratuwa’ is marked and seen in the Palace.

Pathirippuwa

Among the escort buildings of Dalada Palace, the prestigious Pathirippuwa was constructed for the purpose of visiting the citizens who arrive at the Mahamaluwa and also for the purpose of watching the Dalada Perahera. The Pathirippuwa was constructed by the last King of Sri Lanka Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe in 1811. The word ‘Pathirippuwa’ means ‘the palace of view’ (bala sitana thena) as the Sinhala term (Path thu Iruppu) it is believed. It is of a highly exceptional octagonal shape and affords a picturesque view of the city opposite to the Dalada Palace and with views to the right side of the entrance close to the water pool.
At present the Pathirippuwa is used for the storage of artefacts and for library purposes. Also it was used as the leisure room of the King. Valuable books of Ola leaves were deposited here. Currently the Pathirippuwa is used as the symbol of the Dalada Maligawa.

Kandy Dalada Perahera


The Dalada Perahera is one of the most renowned traditions which attracts worldwide attention and takes place each year during the month of Esala (July/Aug). There are four main events which are held annually by the Dalada Palace which are as follows:
Aluth Sahal Mangalya in January, Sinhala Avuruddha in April, Dalada Perahera in July Karthi Feast in October are the four events that received Royal patronage and the King paid courtesy calls to the citizens during these times.
   
The word ‘perahera’ is derived from the Pali and Sanskrit languages which means ‘walking together’ paviharaya dekweema, protection (araksha kereema), paying respects (gauruwa kereema). Hoever, today according to Sri Lankan specifications the word ‘perahera’ eventually reminds us of the Kandy Sri Dalada Perahera.
   

Throughout the perahera history, the Kandy Esala Perahera was a procession held of an era more organised and of orderly manner and it was evident that during the Anuradhapura era (4th century AD) during the reign of King Kithsirimevan, from the inception of the tooth relic in Sri Lanka that the Dalada Perahera was celebrated in grand style as a Royal function.
The Dalada Perahera was a highly noble state event during the Anuradhapura era and moved towards being a more religious event during the Polonnaruwa era.
   
The Mahawansa records that in AD 1153-1186 King Parakramabahu I made the traditional offering towards the tooth relic and the Pathra Satum Wahanse, in a very elegant manner and the King himself rode on a white elephant close behind the Dalada Karanduwa during the procession. Soon after the Polonnaruwa era the tooth relic was brought to Dambadeniya for security reasons during which time both the pathra datuwa and dalada wahanse were taken adorned in procession and soon afterwards taken to Yahapahuwa for safekeeping. During this time there was no sign of a perahera being held.
   
During the Kurunegala era there was a certain amount of rules and regulations to be adhered to regarding the perahera and during this time the powers of the bhikkus were more. From this point the Dalada Maligawa was brought to Gampaha and thereafter to the Kotte Kingdom and here utmost care was taken and virtuous traditions were made accordingly with great respect and honour towards the Tooth Relic. In 1593, it was evident that Wimaladharmasuriya Narendran built a palace close to his palace with many beautiful aspects and made the tooth relic to rest; which was later adorned in the procession during the month of Esala yet preceded only as a godly procession instead of a perahera as stated in the Mahawansa.
   
 It was also stated that complete details of the offerings made and homage and of traditions towards Dalada and all other processions which took place later clearly stated from the beginning of the era of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe. It is clearly evident that the initiation of the present procession was an impact of Upali Himipanau who brought forth Upasampadava (higher ordination) to Sri Lanka, who advised on making the perahera of esala, a procession which includes a Buddha pooja of the tooth relic instead of a procession towards the God.
   
 There are a few factors involved in discussions of the consistency of the Dalada Perahera the time it is was held; the artistes and the villagers and with more emphasis on the participation of the villagers in the procession. However, over time new aspects had been added.

King of his own kingdom in procession and paying homage to the people for the second time during the year.
Creation of an opportunity for the commoners to witness the King’s glory and loyalty to the kingdom and also parading of countrymen and government agents under the King’s direct rule in the procession
Showcasing the victories of the Sinhala kingdom against the foreign invasions and instilling of courage, patriotic feeling and of sovereignty of Kings.
Annual Esala offerings made to Buddha for rain for agricultural purposes.


Festival held in order to commemorate the soora-Asoora battle victory and the war heroes.


The Esala perahera begins soon after the new Kandy Vishnu devale procession ends and after the planting of Kapa trees at the Kandy Sathara Devalaya and after seven days of observing religious traditions the Kumbal procession begins and as soon as it ends the internal procession of the palace begins and five days afterwards the Randoli perahera begins. In terms of consistency the Randoli perahera evidently proves this process.    

Accordingly, the Kandy Dalada Perahera is the main historical event of Sri Lanka of whatever national, religion or faith. This has been bestowed to us by our ancient folks and will be adorned in procession continuing in the future with much honour and integrity.  


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