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Costumed elephants on parade, celebrants dancing to incessant drumming, and wafting incense burns for ten days – all in honor of the Buddha’s purloined tooth.
Legend has it that 1,700 years ago one of the Buddha’s teeth was stolen from his funeral pyre and smuggled into Sri Lanka. Today, the relic is a sacred symbol for Sri Lankans and housed in the country’s most sacred temple, Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth).
In its current form, Esala Perahera incorporates Hindu deities into its festivities, as four of the parades now start at Hindu temples. There’s a parade for every night of the festival (10 in all), with the processions getting longer, more intense and increasingly colorful as the festival gets underway.The parades are a sensual spectacle: you’ll inhale wafting incense, jasmine and frangipani bouquets; sway along to the incessant drum beats; stare in delight at the elephants and dancers adorned in exotic costumes; and gasp in awe as fire eaters swing burning coconut husks from chains and men crack whips to scare away demons only inches from people’s faces.
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Kandy is Sri Lanka's second-largest city, about 100 kilometers northeast of Colombo, practically in the middle of the island nation.
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This should be on everyone's top ten bucket list of festivals, as most people who go say it's the most splendid visual feast they've ever experienced. Never before in your life have you seen so many elephants adorned in such glamorous costumes in the nightly torchlight processions. This celebration that has been around for hundreds of years will remind you that one of the chief purposes of a festival is to provide generational guidance for cultures and families.
Located in some of the most verdant and picturesque countryside on this island and in the World Heritage-listed Kandy, and given the 10-day length of the festival, Esala Perahera is meant to be savored and appreciated over many days. Don’t rush it. Spend at least three days enjoying the festivities.
A fantasic example of generations being guided by cultural ritual–in this case by fantasticly adorned pachyderms.
Decadently dressed dancers, incessant drumming, the intoxicating scent of incense—it’s no wonder the famous British poet and novelist D.H. Lawrence once described Esala Perahera as a “perpetual fire-laughing motion among the slow shuffle of elephants.” Honoring the tooth relic of the Buddha, this festival makes you feel you’ve been transported to a tribal gathering hundreds of years ago, only now there are cameras, and you’ll want to take plenty of photos.
The ceremonial cutting down of a jack tree blesses the beginning of the festival, and the first five nights, known as Kumbal Perahera, host intimate gatherings at shrines and small processions just off Kandy Lake. The last 5 nights, known as Randoli Perahera, get progressively larger and more intense until the last night, on the full moon, when you’ll witness one of the most feverishly energetic parades ever. While the procession has a reputation for running long, you know the climax is coming when the Maligawa Tusker, a carriage with a replica of the Buddha’s tooth, arrives. Before you know it, there’s a parade of enormous elephants decked out in their finest silk costumes swaying to the drumbeat.
The next morning a “water cutting” ceremony through the Mahaweli Ganga River ritualizes the divide between pure and impure and honors the water gods for a good year ahead. A goblet of water from the ceremony is stored and used in the tree-planting ritual that signals the beginning of the next year’s festival.
Esala Perahera is exhausting and, at times, overwhelming, but it’s one of the world’s best examples of how collective effervescence can encompass not only locals and devotees, but anyone who’s lucky enough to take part in this ancient, alluring festival.
Hello I am Nishan lives in Sri Lanka and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am married to a wonderful wife and 3 beautiful kids.
I am attached to tourism industry since 2001 to date, I am an experienced tour consultant, have gone through many training programs such as first aid, swift water rescue and have been and done so many outdoor activities.
I am very quite and calm character, loves to work many hours and watch movies when i have free time some times all day.
My favorite thing in the tourism field is to invite my guest to our home for a simple dinner with us. it's a sheer joy to be with such a lovely people around the world and listen to them.
I stand for my clients for whatsoever reason to make their stay comfortable, memorable and safety even if I have to run short of the earning.
This is me World and I wait for you.