Sri Lanka Experiences - Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple.
Bhikkhus conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple. Rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. The brick wall which runs along the moat and Bogambara lake is known as water waves wall. Holes in this wall are built to light coconut oil lamps. The main entrance gate which lies over the moat is called Mahawahalkada. At the foot of Mahawahalkada steps, there is a Sandakada pahana (moonstone) which is carved in Kandyan architectural style. Elephants are depicted in stone on either side of the entrance. A Makara Torana and two guardian stones are placed on top of the staircase.
Hewisi drummers’ chamber is situated in front of the main shrine. The two storeys of the main shrine are known as “Palle malaya” (lower floor) and “Udu malaya” (upper floor) or “Weda hitina maligawa”. The doors of the Weda Hitana Maligawa are Ivory carvings. The actual chamber in which the tooth relic is kept is known as the “Handun kunama”. The tooth relic is encased in seven golden caskets which are engraved with precious gemstones. The caskets have a shape of a stupa. The procession casket which is used during the Kandy Esala Perahera is also displayed in the same chamber.