The Temple of the Tooth Relic

Temple of the Tooth Sri Lanka
Image: The History Hub

Tucked away in the hills of Sri Lanka’s Central Province, spawning so much charm, Kandy is the center of Buddhist faith. It is a World Heritage Site. Most visitors to Sri Lanka visit Kandy without fail. It’s just a four hour car journey from the commercial capital of Colombo and a train journey offers more fascinating views.

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth shelters Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic, the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha. The complex includes a series of smaller temples, shrines and museums.

During Buddhist prayers, the heavily guarded room housing the tooth is open to devotees and tourists. The sacred tooth is kept in a gold casket shaped like a stupa, which contains a series of six dagoba caskets of decreasing size.

The legend of the tooth began in 313AD, when it was smuggled into Sri Lanka, the relic was hidden in the hair of Princess Hemamala as she fled from rivals who were encircling her father’s Kingdom in India. In Sri Lanka, it was placed on a gold lotus flower, and enshrined inside a jeweled casket fronted by two large elephant tasks.

The tooth relic immediately became an object of immense devotion and awe. It became the responsibility of the ruler to protect the tooth relic, and it was believed that whoever held it, also held the power of the country. As a result, over the centuries there were several attempts to capture or destroy it, but miraculously every attempt failed, and it was even unharmed during powerful bomb blasts during some terrorist attacks.

The best time to visit Kandy is during the Esala Perahera, one of the most famous and very colorful Buddhist festivals in the world. It is held in July or August each year, this parade began in the 18th century to honour the sacred tooth relic.

The tooth relic is carried by a majestic male elephant, following drummers, dancers, musicians, jugglers, acrobats, and hundreds of colorfully dressed elephants who parade the streets of of Kandy. Thousands of visitors visit Kandy during this period.

If you go to Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth is a must-visit. It is located approximately 30 minutes away from Amaya Hills, one of our hotels in Kandy – our helpful team will assist you in arranging an excursion. Check dates for availability and book your stay today.