Temple of the Tooth Relic – Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy

Who doesn’t love hill stations? When the hill station has historical relevance, well, that’s a cherry on the top !! Kandy is one such place. Sri Lanka has a jewel in the crown called Kandy. Kandy owes its famous essence to the Temple of the Tooth Relic. 

For a moment, I stood wondering…. 

Is it the presence of the ‘temple of the tooth relic’ that has decorated Kandy, or is Kandy itself so exquisite that Buddha decided to have an adobe there !!!! 

Let us resolve this doubtful figment of my imagination….. 

Temple of the Tooth Relic is one of the most revered and sacred temples of the Buddhists. It has a legacy of the preservation of the left canine tooth of Buddha. Situated within the royal palace complex, the sacred tooth relic temple is also known as the ‘Sri Dalada Maligawa temple.’ 

Now is the time to enter the world of beauty inside…..

Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy
Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy


A gigantic complex unravelled before me as the gates opened. Young brides and grooms came in to get the blessings of God before entering a new chapter of their lives.

It was picturesque enough as couples preferred it for photoshoots too. Dressed in complete white as a mark of respect and purity to the Buddhists, the devotees were thronging the temple. 

In ritualist mode, we left the shoes in the shoe stand and stepped into the temple. On the outside, it is just a white building with no distinct surprise-worthy architecture, but, on the inside, it is a marvel !! 

Colourful paintings are to be seen in the entire temple—some depicting life of Buddha, some depicting life of Buddhists and some on life lessons. The brilliant walls lead to the two-storied temple, but it is perceived as part of the palace itself.The closed room is on the ground floor, and all the hourly rites are performed within the chamber. 

It is the centre for the processions, and a drummer’s courtyard exists as a separate section. The legacy of the tooth is preserved in the Sanctum Sanctorum on the first floor.

Temple of the tooth relic
Closed chamber of Ground floor – Temple of the tooth relic

History of Temple

Every magnum opus has a legacy!

It is believed that when Gautama Buddha was on the funeral pyre, his two canine teeth were taken. One of those is preserved in the temple, and the other was smuggled into Sri Lanka by Princess Hamemali, who fled from Hindu armies who besieged her father’s kingdom in India. She hid the tooth in her hair, and as the myth of right to rule with the one with custody, she gave it to King Sirineghavanna of Anuradhapura.

The tooth was passed on through ages and the capital and preserved in the Sanctorum inside moat protection in the temple, which several kings have rebuilt. 

Patthirippuwa, where kings’ recreational activities took place, is an octagonal structure and part of the temple. The temple’s legacy has been re-lived through the Sinhalese movie – ‘Siri Daladagamanaya’. 

Temple of the Tooth Relic aka Sri Dalada Maligawa
Temple of the Tooth Relic aka Sri Dalada Maligawa

I understood the earnestness of the temple as soon as I stepped on the first floor. I witnessed hundreds of Buddhists inside, all dressed in white with flowers in their hands, constantly chanting prayers while waiting for their turn to obtain blessings. It was a scenic view viewing it all !! 

As an instinct, I joined my hands in prayer and approached the main Sanctum. Embracing the quiet environment, I did not click pictures as it felt pretty odd. 

The tooth relic is preserved within the seven golden caskets laid in gems that allow us to see. We hardly get a minute of the exceptional awestruck moment to view the caskets due to the crowded arena.

The Golden casket within which the Tooth Relic is preserved
The Golden casket within which the Tooth Relic is preserved

Devotion was the fragrance in the air. Several rows of lamps, the aroma of the incense sticks travelled throughout the temple. 

An efficient team of volunteers was formed in the temple to ensure the safe and smooth entry and exit of devotees. 

The prayer hall had devotees offering prayers to Lord Buddha, and the sense of calm and optimistic vibes that prevailed inside descended even outside the complex.

Prayer Hall - Temple of the Tooth Relic
Prayer Hall – Temple of the Tooth Relic

There was a ritual of a procession of the sacred tooth annually during the ten-day festival called Esala Perahera, which falls between late July and early August. Due to safety concerns, only caskets are taken into the procession now.

But, it is still a delight to watch the well-lit place with drummers and decked-up elephants.

Replica of Buddha statue found at Sarnath
Replica of Buddha statue found at Sarnath, gifted by India

The temple area is laid with numerous shops for shopping and juice shops to keep us hydrated and fresh. It was also healing enough to move around the lake near the temple, which was very peaceful.

Beautiful town of Kandy
Temple of the Tooth Relic Guide
Temple of the Tooth Relic Guide – Pin It
  1. Relevant information …. there are plenty of things written in this blog that are important to remember. With basic information, this blog has also put effort into mentioning small details.

    Thanks for the details.

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