During your visit to Kandy, Sri Lanka, there are several interesting things that you can do. In addition to the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and strolling around the Kandy Lake, there is also the very popular Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), which is a must visit attraction. Located just north of the Kandy Lake, the golden-roofed Temple is hard to miss, even from miles away. This site is an important place of worship for Buddhists all over the world as it houses the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.
During your visit to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, you will notice that the building is very well preserved, almost like it was built just a few years ago, rather than centuries ago. Because this temple has continuously attracted visitors for centuries, its maintenance has been good. According to Buddhists, Lord Buddha’s canine teeth were preserved from the ashes and are respected as the most holy relics of the religion. While touring the complex, one should note the brilliant architectural effort put towards making it a work of art.
In addition to the main shrine, the complex includes many other temples and museums. Beautiful shrines of Buddha are made from marble, along with painted murals reciting the story of Buddhism. There is an ancient saying that whoever holds the Tooth relic is in charge of the country’s governance. Monks reside in this temple, making it an active place. They perform rituals three times a day: sunrise, noon and sunset. Every Wednesday a symbolic bathing of the relic is held with flowers and herbal scented water. This ceremony is known as ‘Nanumara Mangallaya’. The water used turns into holy water which is believed to contain healing powers. Visitors present during the ritual hours every Wednesday are blessed with this holy water. Strong believers stand in queues for their turn to get a few drops of the holy water.
Plan your Sri Lanka holiday with Blue Lanka Tours; all our tour packages include a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic as a mandatory tourist attraction, due to the great religious significance it holds. When entering the Temple of the Tooth, you must wear conservative clothing and make sure your legs and shoulders are covered. Shoes are not allowed inside the premises. Photographs are not allowed inside the temple. When prayers take place, the room that keeps the tooth is open for locals and tourists. Try to time your visit during these times so that you do not miss the most important part of this attraction. Do keep in mind that the tooth cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is carefully protected in a golden casket in the shape of a Stupa.
Within the temple complex but outside the main temple, there is a World Buddhism Museum, located inside the buildings that were once the former High Court. In this museum you will see a lot of photographs, models and exhibits showing the spread of Buddhism across the world. There are guides available at the entrance of the museum who are willing to show you around for about LKR 500/-, and audio guides are also available for free at the ticket office.