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Kandy Esala Perahera: Sri Lanka’s Grandest Procession

Kandy Randoli Perahera

The Kandy Esala Perahera, also known as the Festival of the Tooth, is one of Sri Lanka’s most spectacular cultural events. Held annually in the city of Kandy, this grand procession is a celebration of Buddhism and Sri Lankan culture, and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.

The Esala Perahera takes place over ten days in July or August, culminating in the final procession, which is the most elaborate and exciting event of the festival. The procession begins at the Temple of the Tooth, which is believed to house a tooth relic of the Buddha, and winds its way through the streets of Kandy, showcasing the best of Sri Lankan dance, music, and art.

The procession is led by a majestic elephant, adorned with a brightly-colored cloth and glittering ornaments, who carries a replica of the tooth relic. Behind the elephant come hundreds of drummers and dancers, dressed in colorful costumes and performing traditional Sri Lankan dances. The atmosphere is electric, as the sound of the drums fills the air and the dancers move in perfect unison.

As the procession moves through the streets, spectators can admire the intricate costumes and decorations, which are designed to reflect the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. Many of the costumes are made from hand-woven silk, and feature intricate embroidery and beading. Some of the dancers wear masks, which represent different characters from Sri Lankan folklore.

The Kandy Esala Perahera is not just a visual spectacle – it is also a deeply spiritual event. The procession is a tribute to the Buddha and his teachings, and is a way for Sri Lankans to express their devotion and gratitude. As the procession passes by, many spectators offer flowers and incense as a sign of respect and reverence.

For visitors to Sri Lanka, the Kandy Esala Perahera is an unforgettable experience. The energy and excitement of the procession are contagious, and the vibrant colors and sounds are truly mesmerizing. If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, be sure to schedule your visit around the time of the Esala Perahera – it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

In conclusion, the Kandy Esala Perahera is a vibrant cultural celebration that showcases the best of Sri Lankan art, music, and dance. It is a true visual spectacle, with glittering costumes, drumming, and dancing that will leave you awestruck. But it is also a deeply spiritual event, a way for Sri Lankans to honor their cultural heritage and express their devotion to the Buddha. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, be sure to put the Kandy Esala Perahera on your bucket list.

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Sanjeewa Uderathne