Kandy Perahera - Esala Perahera in Sri Lanka.

History of the Kandy Perahera
Old Ceylon Kandy PeraheraIt is believed the Kandy Perahera has its origin with the arrival of Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala, the son-in-law and daughter of King Guhasiva of Kalinga, India to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Kirthisiri Meghawanna (305-331 AD). Following the decree of King Kirthisiri Meghawanna that the Relic be taken round the city of Anuradhapura once a year, the Esala Perehera pageant had been followed by the succession of kings, though with interruptions caused by the foreign invasions. The most revealing narration on the Esala Perehera is found in the book written by the Chinese pilgrim Fa Hien who visited Sri Lanka in the 5th century A.D. The intermittent invasions by the Dravidian kingdoms in the southern Sri Lanka was to result in the shifting of the seat of the kingdom from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, then to Dambadeniya and other cities. In each retreat, a new temple of tooth was built to enshrine Sacred Tooth Relic. Finally, since the shift of the capital to Kandy, the Sacred Tooth Relic has been undisturbed. Today the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha and naturally it has been there that the annual Kandy Esala Perehera Pageant is held in every year.

Kandy Esala Perahera Viewing Galleries 2014
Kandy Esala Perahera Pageant Procession is believed to be a fusion of two separate but interconnected Perahera's (Processions) - The Esala and Dalada. It is very grand with elegant costumes. Happening in July or August in Kandy, it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. The Esala Perahera which is thought to date back to the 3rd century BC, was a ritual enacted to request the gods for rainfall. The Dalada Perahera is believed to have begun when the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from India during the 4th Century AD. The Tooth Relic was take in procession to Sri Lanka by Princess Hemamala & Prince Dantha. It is a Buddhist festival consisting of dances and nicely decorated Elephants. There are fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandian dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments.

Tentative dates of the Kandy Esala Perahera 2014. 1st - 11th August 2014. (Subject to change).
DateEvent
27th July 2014Kapsituvima (Planting of the 'Kapa')
27th July to 30th July 2014 Internal Perahera of Four Devales
01st August 2014 1st Kumbal Perahera
02nd August 2014 2nd Kumbal Perahera
03rd August 2014 3rd Kumbal Perahera
04th August 2014 4th Kumbal Perahera
05th August 2014 5th Kumbal Perahera
06th August 2014 1st Randoli Perahera
07th August 2014 2nd Randoli Perahera
08th August 2014 3rd Randoli Perahera
09th August 2014 4th Randoli Perahera
10th August 2014 5th Randoli Perahera
11th August 2014 Day Perahera (Water Cutting Ceremony "Diya Kepeema")


The order of the procession of Kandy Perahera


Kandy Perahera procession features five processions organized by the Maligawa Perahera or Perahera of the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, the most venerated Buddhist temple of Sri Lanka and four shrines dedicated to Hindu Gods and a Goddess, i.e. the Shrine of God Natha, the Shrine of God Maha Vishnu, the Shrine of God Katharagama and the Shrine of Goddess Pattini. By 8pm, the Maligawa Perahera or the procession of Sacred Temple of the Tooth of the Buddhists takes the lead and joined by the processions of four Hindu shrines. The second procession is from the shrine dedicated to God Natha. The 14th Century shrine that faces the Sri Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth is said to be the oldest building in Kandy. The third is from the shrine dedicated to God Vishnu. Vishnu Devale also known as the Maha Devale is located close to the Natha Devale. The fourth procession is from the Kataragama Devale dedicated to the God of Skanda, the deity of Kataragama. Kataragama shrine is located on Kottugodalle Street of Kandy. This procession includes Kavadi, the peacock dance, in which the pilgrim dancers carry semicircular wooden contraptions studded with peacock feathers on their shoulders. The fifth and final procession is from the shine dedicated to goddess Pattini. Pattini shrine is located to the west of the Natha Devale.

Maligawa Perahera or Perahera of the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic is comprised as follows:



At the forefront of the procession are the Whip Crackers. The cracking of whips all the way from the very beginning to end of the chosen path of Perahera signifies the approach of the procession. Immediately following the whip crackers are the Flag Bearers carrying are the standards and the flags of the different Provinces and the Temples in single file on both sides of the road. The official called Peramunerala riding on the first elephant follows next carrying the register of the Sacred Temple of the Tooth at Kandy.

Next on the procession are the Drummers playing an array of traditional drums and blowing traditional flutes. While the drummers play in explosive style, the teams of dancers leap and bound. The hoards of drummers and dancers are followed up by the officer in charge of the elephants, of course mounted on a caparisoned and decorated tusker. During the ancient and medieval times of Sri Lanka, the officer in charge of the Kings's stable had been a high ranking minister of the king. To date the officer in charge of the elephants called Gajanayaka Nilame carries the silver goad called Ankusa that symbolize his authority. Following Gajanayake Nilame is another officer of the temple mounted on a tusker: the Kariyakorawnarala, is the officer in charge of drummers and dancers. He is also responsible for minor functions at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth. Arrival of Kariyakorawnarala set the stage for center of attraction: the Maligawa Tusker Caparisoned, robed and illuminated, the tusker of the temple stepping in supreme grace and great pride carrying the resplendent golden casket called Ransivige sheltered with a canopy. The golden casket contains the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha.

The beasts sense of the solemnity of the procession and the reverence, in which the Sacred Tooth Relic is held by the human populace, it seems, could hardly be bettered even by a human itself. Held high over the Tusker is canopy; unrolled on to the way of the Tusker is a ream of white cloth called pavada. The devotees, spectators, the foreign tourists and all distinguished guests stand steadfast while the Maligawa tusker carrying the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha passes them. The Tusker is followed by two long chains of vibrant dancers, on each side of the road, facing each other with a team of drummers in the middle forming another column. At the end of the retinue is the Custodian of the Temple of the Tooth titled Diyawadana Nilame, dressed in traditional regalia of the high officials of the kings, who reigned at the medieval kingdom of Kandy. Diyawadana Nilame is attended by Murawadu (lance bearers), Wadana tal-athu (sunshade bearers and umbrella-bearers) as well as the other officials of the Sacred Temple of the Tooth.
 
Kandy Perahera - Esala Perahera                 
Kandy Perahera - Esala Perahera
Diya Kepeema and the Day Perahera  
Diya Kepeema and the Day Perahera
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Kandy Perahera - Esala Perahera Highlights

Kandy Esala Perahera Tickets :


We appreciate with gratitude the cooperation extended to us to make this event a success. We tentatively forward herewith the schedule of the Perahera 2014 subject to the Sri Dalada Maligawa Official confirmation, and given below are details for your reservations.




Perahera Dates LocationPrice Per Seat
Kumbal Perahera
01st August 2014 Pizza Hut Corrior - Temple Street, Kandy USD 92
Sithumina Book Shop Bldg - No 20, Colombo Street, Kandy USD 82
Seetha Book Shop Bldg - No 24, Colombo Street, kandy USD 82
MPCS Building - No 34, Colombo Street, Kandy USD 82
02nd August 2014 Pizza Hut Corridor D.S.Senanayake Veediya,KandyUSD 92
03rd August 2014Pizza Hut Corridor D.S.Senanayake Veediya,KandyUSD 92
04th August 2014Queens Hotel Corridor Dalada Veediya,Kandy USD 92
Final Kumbal Perahera
05th August 2014 Queens Hotel Corridor Dalada Veediya,Kandy USD 92
Francis Perera Bldg. - No.12,Yatinuwara Veediya,Kandy USD 82
Paivas Hotel Corridor No.37,Yatinuwara Veediya,KandyUSD 82
Randoli Perahera
06th August 2014 Pizza Hut Corridor Temple Street,KandyUSD 102
Sithumina Book Shop Bldg.- No.20,Colombo Street,Kandy USD 92
Seetha Book Shop Bldg - No 24, Colombo Street, Kandy USD 92
MPCS Building - No 34, Colombo Street, Kandy USD 92
07th August 2014 Pizza Hut corridor -D.S.Senanayake Veediya,Kandy USD 102
08th August 2014 Queens Hotel Corridor Dalada Veediya,KandyUSD 102
Devon Hotel Corridor- No.74 Yatinuwara Veediya,Kandy USD 92
09th August 2014 Queens Hotel Corridor Dalada Veediya,KandyUSD 102
No.12, Francis Perera Bldg. Yatinuwara Veediya,Kandy USD 92
No.37, Paivas Hotel Corridor -Yatinuwara Veediya,KandyUSD 92
Devon Hotel Corridor No.74, Yatinuwara Veediya,Kandy USD 92
Final Randoli Perahera
10th August 2014Queens Hotel Corridor Dalada Veediya,KandyUSD 102
Francis Perera Bldg : - No.12,Yatinuwara Veediya,KandyUSD 92
Paivas Hotel Corridor.- No.37,Yatinuwara Veediya,Kandy USD 92
Devon Hotel Corridor No.74, Yatinuwara Veediya,KandyUSD 92
Day Perahera
11th August 2014 Pizza Hut Corridor D.S.Senanayake Veediya,KandyUSD 92

Terms & Conditions
* Full payment to be made with Reservation - No credit facilities and no refunds.
* Be at the respective locations at the given time (17.00 Hrs) 5.00 P.M Day Perahera (14.00 Hrs) 2.00 P.M.
* Every Guest is covered by a Public Liability Insurance policy.
* We would not be responsible for sudden change of routes for security reasons but would arrange seats on the routes announced by the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
* Since there are limited seats at our locations please ensure that you make early reservations.
* The starting time of the Perahera depends on their auspicious time of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, which would be notified at that time.

Sri Dalada Maligawa during the festival (Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic )

The Randoli Perahera

The Randoli Perahera begins after five nights of the Kumbal Perahera. Randoli refers to palanquins on which the Queens of the ruling Kings traditionally traveled.

Diya Kepeema and the Day Perahera

After a further five nights of the Randoli Perahera, the pageant ends with the Diya Kepeema, which is the water cutting ceremony at the Mahaweli River at Getambe, a town a few miles from Kandy. A Day Perahera is held to mark the ceremony.

Modern Perahera

The Modern Perahera dates back to the reign of the Kandyan King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 - 1781 AD). During these times, the Tooth Relic was considered private property of the King and the public never got a chance to worship it.

However, King Rajasinghe decreed that the Relic be taken in procession for the masses to see and venerate.

After the Kandyan Kingdom fell to the British in 1815, the custody of the Relic was handed over to the Maha Sanga (the Buddhist Clergy). In the absence of the king, a lay custodian called the "Diyawadana Nilame" was appointed to handle routine administrative matters.


Kandy Esala Perahera Pageant Procession
The Kandy Esala Perahera begins with the Kap Situveema or Kappa, in which a sanctified young Jack tree (Artocarpus integrifolia) is cut and planted in the premises of each of the four Devales dedicated to the four guardian gods Natha, Vishnu, Katharagama and the goddess Pattini. Traditionally it was meant to shower blessing on the King and the people.

The Kumbal Perahera

For the next five nights, the "Devale Peraheras" take place within the premises of the four Devales with the priest of each Devale taking the pole every evening, accompanied by music and drumming, flag and canopy bearers, spearman and the Ran Ayudha, the sacred insignia of the Gods.

On the sixth night, the Kumbal Perahera begins and continues on for five days. Initially, the Devale Peraheras assemble in front of the Sri Dalada Maligawa (or Temple of the Tooth, which is Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist Shrine and where the Buddha's Sacred Tooth Relic has been kept since the 16th Century) with their insignias placed on the ransivige (a dome-like structure) accompanied by the Basnayake Nilames (the lay custodians of the Devales).

The relic casket, which is a substitute for the Tooth Relic, is placed inside the ransivige affixed to the Maligawa Elephant, a tusker.

At about 8pm, the Maligawa Perahera joins the awaiting Devale Peraheras and leads the procession. Whip-crackers and fireball acrobats clear the path, followed by the Buddhist flag bearers. Then, riding on the first elephant, is the official called Peramuna Rala (Front Official). He is followed by Kandyan Drummers and Dancers who enthrall the crowd, and are themselves followed by Elephants and other groups of musicians, dancers and flag bearers. A group of singers dressed in white heralds the arrival of the Maligawa Tusker carrying the Sacred Tooth Relic. The Diyawadana Nilame (traditionally required to do everything in his power to ensure rain in the correct season) walks in traditional Kandyan-clothed splendor after the tusker.

The second procession is from the Natha Devale, which faces the Sri Dalada Maligawa and is said to be the oldest building in Kandy, dating back to the 14th Century.

The third is from the Vishnu Devale (Vishnu being a Hindu god), also known as the Maha Devale. It is situated in from of the main gate of the Natha Devale.

The fourth procession is from the Katharagama Devale (dedicated to the God of Katharagama, identified with the warrior god Skanda) which is on Kottugodalle Vidiya (a street in Kandy). This procession includes Kavadi, the peacock dance, in which the pilgrim-dances carry semicircular wooden contraptions studded with peacock feathers on their shoulders.

The fifth and final procession is from the Pattini Devale (Pattini being a goddess associated with the cure of infectious diseases and called upon in times of drought and famine), which is situated to the West of the Natha Devale. This is the only procession that has women dances.

The following important times are announced by the firing of cannonballs, which can be heard all across Kandy.
1. The commencement of the Devale Perahera
2. The placing of the casket on the tuskers back
3. The commencement of the Dalada Perahera
4. The completion of the Perahera

Just prior to the commencement of Randoli Perahera at kandy

Map of Kandy Perahera - Esala Perahera

Hotels related to Kandy Perahera - Esala Perahera

- Amaya Hills (5km from Kandy) - Mahaweli Reach Hotel (NANkm from Kandy)
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