A unique experience of the Kandy Perahera

The Kandy Esala Perahera is an astounding festival celebrated by Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Traditionally, the festival began as a celebration of the Gods but was later incorporated with the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha that was brought into the country once upon a time. In essence, the Kandy Perahera is a procession whereby several beautifully decorated elephants, major officials, talents such as dancers, drummers and whip crackers all get together and parade around the city of Kandy whilst carrying a replica of the casket containing the Sacred Tooth Relic.

The lovely colors and lights displayed throughout this procession is a stunning sight that has attracted tourists and religious devotees from around Sri Lanka and the rest of the world. If you are able to time your holiday in Sri Lanka during the months of July/August, which is when the Perahera takes place, be sure to schedule at least a couple of nights in Kandy so you can experience the feeling of this – much spoken about – grand procession. Blue Lanka Tours would be glad to organize your holiday in Sri Lanka and arrange your transport, accommodation and seating for this one of a kind experience.

Let us discuss what a typical experience of the Kandy Perahera would be like…

Getting around the Kandy Perahera

The Kandy Perahera begins after the full moon day in the month of July. It is a ten day procession which begins every night at an auspicious time given by the Temple. If you wish to see the procession, it is best to take your seats by 5.00 p.m. and be well equipped with food and water and any other requirements for about 3-5 hours. Once the procession begins, you will not be able to move from your seat and look around for refreshments. If you do get up, don’t be surprised if you come back only to find your seat taken by another. The duration of the procession increases with each passing day, the last day being the longest.

The Kandy Perahera has an official website which you can keep checking for updates on the exact dates of the Perahera. You can also book your seats on this website in comfortable viewing galleries made in buildings alongside which the procession will pass. It is best to reserve your seats and accommodation for this season months in advance because this is the peak period for tourism in Kandy.

Participants of the procession

Whip Crackers: The procession begins with these talented people who crack their whips in an effort to announce the approach of the Perahera. Their gigantic snake-like whips are moved in a circular motion while hitting the ground. Getting this right requires art, skill and a lot of experience.

Flag Bearers: They carry flags of an assortment of Temples from different provinces. These individuals walk in a single file; one behind the other.

Kandyan Officials: With great dignity and pride, Kandyan chiefs walk in their traditional white colored court dresses.

Peramunerala: This is the official who is mounted on the first elephant that appears in the procession.

Drummers: Martial music is played on a wide range of drums. They have a unique skill of coordinating their own body movement with the sound of the drums to create a vibrant atmosphere.

Gajanayake Nilame: The second official on the elephant. This official holds a silver goad to symbolize his authority.

Kariyakorale: The official who is the main organizer of the Esala Perahera. He is responsible for all the ceremonies that take place. Beside him walk the subordinate temple officials along with drummers and dancers.

Maligawa Tusker: This elephant is the main highlight of the procession. It carries a replica of the golden casket containing the Tooth Relic. All effort is taken in decorating this elephant in an incredible manner using different costumes and lights. A canopy is held over the elephant and it walks on a path directed with a special white cloth.

Kandyan Dancers: Lined up on either side of the road, facing each other are the lovely Kandyan dancers. In the middle of these dancers are the drummers who provide the music to which the dancers can move. The combination of the two talents makes an awe-inspiring sight.

Diyawadane Nilame: An official who walks in royal surroundings at the end of the procession. With him are umbrells bearers, sunshade bearers, umbrella bearers and temple headmen.

Apart from these important participants of the Esala Perahera, you will see additional talents such as fireball dancers, fire breathers, jugglers, stilt walkers, musicians and many more who get together from all over the island to partake in this great cultural event.

Sri Lanka – An Adventurous Holiday!

  1. Mountain Climbing

The Adam’s Peak, over 2200 meters in height, is a popular location for a super adventurous mountain climbing experience. December to May is the ideal season for this eight hour long activity. Most moderately fit people can successfully reach the summit of this mountain although it takes a lot of encouragement and motivation to make it to the top. Climbers usually begin their tour at around 1.00 a.m. so that they reach the top in time to see the sunrise. If your level of fitness is lower, it is advisable to start your climb earlier on in the night. It gets chilly as you climb higher, hence carrying warm clothing and your own bottle of water is advisable.

A ‘sacred footprint’ is found near the summit which Buddhists believe is the footprint of Lord Buddha, Hindu’s believe that of Lord Shiva, Muslims and Christians believe that it is the footprint of Adam. At the crack of dawn, indulge in absolutely breathtaking scenery around the mountain and capture memories with your camera. Once you have spent enough time at the summit, head back down and give your body a good rest.

  1. Diving/Snorkeling

Enveloped by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lankan waters offer splendid opportunities for exploring the marine life. You may choose to dive deep into the ocean to greet schools of tropical fish or you may want to simply observe from the surface with a snorkeling mask. Whatever your choice may be, the waters of the south western coast will definitely not disappoint you. You will see a range of exotic fish, beautiful coral reefs, magical underwater sceneries and maybe even historic ship wrecks if you are lucky! And what’s more; if you move up to the Eastern coasts of the island, there are chances you may be diving amidst the dolphins!

  1. Rafting

As one of the emerging sports in Sri Lanka, rafting gives you a thrilling and holistic experience to test your leadership and strategic thinking skills. The white waters of the Kelani River are the most ideal location for a shivering rafting experience. The waters are suited for amateurs and professionals alike. Before you head down to the boat, a guide will explain briefly what kind of major and minor rapid thrills you will be going through and how you should deal with every situation. Every rafter is provided with quality life jackets, helmets and other required equipment. Once you are done with the 5km rafting experience which takes about 1-2 hours, you will be treated to an authentic Sri Lankan lunch included in most rafting packages.

  1. Hot Air Ballooning

If you have planned a holiday in Sri Lanka this year, don’t forget to try the hot air ballooning experience for a wondrous bird’s eye view of the beautiful island. November to April are usually the best months for this experience where you will fly over the countryside, gaze down on villages, wildlife, lakes, rivers, cultural sites, and observe how artistically the rising sun brings to life Mother Nature. The flights usually begin at the crack of dawn, flying an average of 500-2000 feet for approximately one hour. Set aside about four hours for the whole experience; from the time you leave your hotel till you reach the take off point, your flight lands back, you take loads of photographs and then you are entertained with a question answer session from the pilot.

  1. Dolphin/Whale Watching

Mirissa is one of the best places for whale and dolphin watching in Sri Lanka. Located along the southern coastline, head out on a boat to the deep sea and greet the mischevious dolphins and observe the giant blue whales glide past you. In Mirissa, several cruise packages are available for guests to set out on their adventure in style. These are luxury boats owned by the Sri Lankan Navy, given out for leisure and entertainment activities. On board, additional facilities such as audio, video, medical assistance, beverages and snacks are also available. If you are a large group, the cruise experience could be a lot of fun.

Kalpitiya, on the east coast of the island is also another famous dolphin watching location. Here, small boats that can accommodate 6-8 people set out into the deep sea where you will be sure to spot a whole school of dolphins carrying out their routine stunts.

Plan an exciting adventure holiday with Blue Lanka Tours this year and you will definitely not be disappointed. We will write up an itinerary for you that is aligned with adventure at its best. In addition to the above few, there are many more activities in Sri Lanka for those who love adventure. So this year, mark it in your books to make Sri Lanka your next holiday destination!

Ideal camping spots in Sri Lanka

A camping holiday in Sri Lanka lets you get up-close and personal with Mother Nature. You can observe the beauty, splendor and complexities of wilderness at your own comfort and pace. While on a camping holiday, you can immerse yourself in a cycle of sleeping, eating, showering and loitering on the campsite only. This allows you to be a part of the natural wildlife experience. Also, when you are at the park all day, you have the exclusive advantage of being at the hotspots of the parks at the peak times. For example, game viewing and other scenery hotspots have their best viewing times during dawn and dusk. By being an on-site camper, you can indulge in such natural hotspots and grab the benefits that day-time visitors are restricted to.

We at Blue Lanka Tours provide camping facilities to the following National Parks in Sri Lanka. Select a location or two from our range of partners and have an ‘experience of a lifetime’ while on your holiday in Sri Lanka.

  1. Leopard Trails

Leopard Trails eco-friendly luxury camping site aims to provide visitors with an authentic Sri Lankan safari experience in absolute privacy and calming comfort. Only the canvas walls of your tent will separate you from the wonderful and remarkable bio diversity of the Yala National Park and Wilpattu National Park.

These luxury tents at Leopard Trails replicate the original tented safari experience in a redefined manner. Large tents include modern amenities such as comfortable beds, lounge areas, private showers, and dining facilities. Indulge in some deliciously cooked local cuisine catered to the liking of a tourist. You can choose to dine under the stars, in the privacy of your tent, or even on the river.

The density of wildlife per square kilometer at the Yala National Park is quite high and hence you are sure to come across some unique wildlife species during your safari rides. Leopards, tusked elephants and a wide variety of birds are very common here.

  1. Leopard Safaris

Escape into the wild and indulge in your passion for wildlife with the expertly designed leopard safari camps in Sri Lanka. The range of mobile and stylish South African tents at the Leopard Safaris camping site include single, double, triple and family tenting options. All tents have attached hot water outdoor showers, toilettes, lounge areas with a jungle view, facilities to charge your phone and camera, and much more. Chefs are at your service to serve you with freshly prepared, homemade Sri Lankan food cooked with much love.

Game drives, star gazing, guided nature walks, photography classes, bird watching, campfire drinks, animal identification and cooking classes are some of the fun-filled activities provided at Leopard Safaris campsite. Crocodiles, elephants, leopards and sloth bears are popularly spotted during your game drives at the Yala and Wilpattu National Park.

  1. Mahoora

Camping is not just restricted to Yala and Wilpattu National Parks. Mahoora safari camps are located at 11 National Parks in Sri Lanka. These include Udawalawe, Bundala, Gal Oya, Sinharaja, Knuckles, Minneriya, Horton Plains and a few more. Depending on your budget, you can choose either an Elite, Premium or Explorer camping package, each of which include a talented naturalist and a professional ranger. All tents have carpeted flooring, private bathrooms and showers, an outdoor living area, a fruit platter, mosquito nets and other modern amenities. A well cooked five course meal with signature dishes, campfire barbeque and a la carte menus are also available.

The unique benefit of Mahoora camps is that they are located in strategice and advantageous locations around the island. So whichever part of Sri Lanka you are in and are looking for a neighboring ultimate camping experience, Mahoora will be at your service.

  1. Kulu Safaris

Yala, Udawalawe, and Wilpattu National Parks are where Kulu safari camps are based. Their aim is to bring alive the magical nature of Sri Lanka’s jungles and exhibit the abundant, yet rarely explored biodiversity to the eager traveler. The team at Kulu Safaris is dedicated towards serving its guests with maximum attention to detail to make their camping experience a truly memorable one. Along with exclusive access to the riches of Sri Lanka’s wildlife, Kulu Safari tents are raised on wooden platforms and have been custom made in South Africa with all the modern amenities included.

  1. Master Campers

Master Campers provide unique luxury camping experience to travelers visiting Udawalawe and Wilpattu National Park. With responsible eco tourism in mind, Master Campers make sure tourists have an exceptional experience that does not harm the natural habitat in any manner. They provide high end camping experiences with luxury tents with private bathrooms, five course meals, safaris, and guided tours.