Dahawal Perahera (The Day Procession) 31st August 2023

Dive into Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage with the Maha Randoli Perahera, the grand climax of the annual Esala Perahera. Witness the vibrant dances, music, and the awe-inspiring parade of decorated elephants honoring the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Join us for a journey into this spectacular celebration.

The Maha Randoli Perahera, also known as the Grand Randoli Procession, is the climax of the annual Esala Perahera festival in Sri Lanka, one of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals in the country. It’s a historical, religious, and cultural event that seeks to honor and pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, held in the Sri Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple of the Tooth, in Kandy.

“Maha” in Sinhalese means “great” or “grand”, while “Randoli” refers to the palanquins in which nobles were traditionally carried, and “Perahera” translates to “procession” or “parade”. The Maha Randoli Perahera is therefore, quite literally, the Grand Palanquin Procession.

The procession is a flamboyant spectacle featuring dancers, musicians, acrobats, fire-breathers, lavishly decorated elephants, and many more participants, all adorned in intricate costumes and luminous lights, which are sure to make the festival a memorable sight for any observer. A significant number of these participants are dedicated to creating rhythmic sounds, utilizing traditional instruments such as drums, flutes, and cymbals. The participants also display various forms of traditional Sri Lankan dance and art forms, adding a cultural depth to the grandeur of the event.

The pinnacle of the procession is the royal tusker, a well-trained elephant carefully chosen for the prestigious task of carrying the golden casket, which contains a replica of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The royal tusker is lavishly decorated and walks with majesty and grace. The sight of this magnificent creature under the starlit sky is a truly awe-inspiring spectacle.

This grand event is not only an exhibition of Sri Lanka’s vibrant traditional art and culture but also a testimony to the country’s deep-rooted Buddhist traditions and the respect for the Buddha. This religiously significant procession is believed to invoke blessings not just on the island nation but also on the whole world.

The Maha Randoli Perahera concludes the Esala Perahera, with the streets of Kandy filled with spectators from all walks of life, locals and tourists alike, who come to witness and be part of this historic and culturally rich celebration. With its origins dating back over millennia, the Perahera continues to be a unique event, symbolizing Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage and religious devotion.

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