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Temple of the Tooth, Kandy
මහනුවර ශ්‍රී දළඳා මාලිගාව

Located in Kandy, long a center of the Buddhist faith, the stunning 17th-century Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) is believed to house the left upper canine tooth of the Lord Buddha himself. This precious relic attracts white-clad pilgrims, bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani, every day.

The tooth relic was brought to Sri Lanka in 371 A.D. from India. In India there was a king called Buhasiva. He has instructed his son in law Dhantha supposing if he lost in the battle take the tooth relic to Sri Lanka where his friend was living. He handed over this tooth relic to his son in law DhanthaThe king lost the battle and his daughter princes Hemamali and son in law Dhantha brought the tooth relic to Sri Lanka, and it was hidden in her knot of hair foe safety. When they reached Sri Lanka King Buhasiva’s friendly king Mahasen had died. So they handed the sacred tooth relic to king Megavan who was ruling in Anuradhapura. The sacred tooth relic was then handed over to bikku, buddhist monk’s of Abayagiriya for safe keeping and also object of worship for Buddha’s. Traditionally thereafter the sacred tooth relic was regarded as a royal treasure and symbol of kingship and was enshrined in the private shrine room of temple in the royal palace complex of Capital and protected by the king himself. 
When the capital was shifted from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa the tooth relic was taken to Polonnaruwa by king Vijayabahu 1 and he constructed “Atadage”and enshrined it.Aftertsome time Queen Sugala has taken the tooth to Amsterdam bay.There was a fortress and it was hidden there. After a long battle king Parakramabahu the 1st brought the tooth relic again to Polonnaruwa. And king Nissankamalla constructed the tooth relic temple called "Hatadage" and enshrined it. After that it was brought to Dmbadeniya,Yapahuwa, Kurunegala from Kurunegala they brought to Kotte. During the period of Mayadunna it was taken to Seethawaka.During period of Rajasinghe 1, portugues power spread in the costal area and it was taken to Delgamuwa Viharaya, which is situated at Kuruwita in Rathnapura district, and it was taken to Kandy in 1593 and kept by king Wimaladharmasuriya. In 1753 the Kandy Perahara started to honour the tooth relic, and it was taken around the Kandy town.

After Sri Lanka was concord by British in 1815 the custody of the sacred tooth relic given over to three custodians. The venerable mahanayaka thero of Asgiriya and malwatta chapters and to the Diyawadana Nilame, the chief custodian, and continue even to day. During the period of king wimaladhrmasuriya the temple of tooth relic constructed.he made it a two storied building. Later king wimaladhrmasuriya the 2nd, have constructed three storied building. King Narendrasingha re-built and had paintings of 32 jathaka stories of Depict of the wall of court yard.Paththirippuva (octagan) is part of the royal palace. King used to come and address the people from there. It was constructed by Devendra Moolachari during the period of king Sri Wickrama Rajasingha. Now it’s handed over to the temple of tooth relic, and uses as a library of ola leaves. In front of the Daladha Maligava you get the “diyarelibemma”. as soon as you come out side in the wall you get the diyarelibemma, in the shape of a waves get in the lake. When the electricity is not there you can keep the oil lamp and light in the “diyarelibemma”. There are two walls. First one is calld “diyareli bemma”. The one close to the temple calls “walakulu bemma” at the entrance you get the “maha wahalkada” one of the entrance to the palace area. At the entrance you get a moonstone and by both sides you get nicely carved elephant figures. When you enter the wahalkada you come through a door – way, with makara thorana. And a figur of dhorotupala.(door man) When you pass through a cave called ambarawa. Then you come to the hevisi mandapaya (drumers' courtyard) in front of the sacred tooth relic temple. The lower chamber of the temple call pallemaluwa. Upper chamber call uda mahala or wedahitina mahala. To the right side of the octagon is aramudal ge in which you get the Buddha's image house. then you get pirith mandapaya. Lower chamber of this building have two rooms called dig ge, long house. Other one is maha aramudhala. The treasure room, where the gifts offered are housed. The wooden doors framed over late with rich silver plates with the sun and moon symbol either sides. That is in the lover floor. In the upper chamber there are three rooms. handhun hunama, is the name given to first and second room, or sandal wood shed or gandhakutiya, or perfume chamber. It is the first room that the exposition of the tooth relic take place. The third room is called wadahitina maligawa , where the tooth relic reside. Door frames in these chambers are late with ivory. There are seven golden caskets enclosed for the tooth relic and each studded with precious gems. The outer most caster is embedded by jewellery offered to the relic by various kings and other distinguished quest. on the right hand of the tooth relic is the perahera karaduwa. There is a relic chamber presented by India with the Buddha's relic from dharmajika sthoopa in Thaksala the relic casket is covered with bullet proof glass frame. In front of it is the wooden alter mal asana in late with silver. over it from the ceiling hangs lotus flower made out of gold with gems at the center.

Daily rituals are performed three times a day. One is early morning at 4.30 a.m. second is at 10.30. a.m. and the third is at 6.30. p.m. in the evening at 4.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. 32 measures of rice are cooked as offering for Breakfast and Lunch every day. 32 vegetables are cooked for alms and in the evening various medicinal drinks like koththamalli, tea, fruit juice, with beetle and banana are offered as Buddhist's believe treating Buddha's relic is like treating Buddha alive. 


History of Tooth Relic

On the outside, the temple buildings are not magnificent or elaborately decorated. White with red roofs, they cluster around Kandy Lake (the island in the middle once housed the king's harem).

In striking contrast to the plain exterior, the interiors of the temple buildings are richly carved and decorated with inlaid woods, ivory, and lacquer.

Around the entire complex is a low white stone wall, delicately and simply carved with openings that give a filigree effect. During celebrations, candles are placed in the openings, lighting up the entire front.

The relic of the tooth is kept in a two-story inner shrine fronted by two large elephant tusks. The relic rests on a solid gold lotus flower, encased in jeweled caskets that sit on a throne.

The temple is joined to the Pattiripuwa (Octagon) tower, built in 1803, that was originally a prison but now houses a collection of palm-leaf manuscripts. The king's palace is also in the temple compound.

Festivals
Kandy Perahera
The tooth relic is removed from its shrine only once a year, during the Esala Perahera, a 10-day torchlight parade of dancers and drummers, dignitaries, and ornately decorated elephants. It is now one of the better-known festivals in Asia, and it may be the largest Buddhist celebration in the world.

This ritual procession and festival began in the 18th century. During the full moon in late July or early August, a royal male elephant carries the reliquary of the sacred tooth and leads the procession, flanked by two perfectly matched, smaller elephants.

Unfortunately, due to tensions with the insurgent Tamil Tigers and corresponding worries about it being damaged or stolen, the relic itself has not been brought out during the festival since 1990. In the meantime, the casket is honored as its representative.

As many as 100 elephants, dressed in elaborate finery, make their way into town while torches and fire dancers fend off curses. Whip-cracking porters clear the way through the throngs of pilgrims, followed by musicians, jugglers, torch bearers, boy dancers and acrobats, and members of noble families in Ceylonese garb.

On the last night, the procession moves from the city to the temple, led by elders in the costumes of the ancient kings of Kandy and lit by handheld candles. The procession flows into the temple compound to encircle the shrine, following the route of the sun in its course across the skies.

Attendance at the Esala Perahera numbers at about a million people. The festival brings today all ranks of Sri Lankan society in a vast throng of devotees and interested onlookers.

Because of the national character of the shrine, many Tamil Hindus and mixed-blood Christians take part as an expression of their common cultural heritage.

At the festival, the president and leaders of Sri Lanka continue the nationalist Buddhist tradition by taking part in a ceremony in which they dedicate their service to the people in the presence of the sacred relic.