Kandy Esala Perahera Festival
The Most Colourful Buddhist Festival In The World.
Kandy Esala Perahera is the grandest Buddhist festival celebrated in Sri Lanka. Annually it will be held during the month of Esala (July) in order to worship the tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Thousands of drummers, dancers, and flag bares participate in the perahera. Special tuskers are to be selected to carry the Dalada karaduwa.
Kap Planting Ceremony
This is the first religious act at the Natha, Pattini, Kataragama and Vishnu Devales’ heralding the historic Dalada Perahera. The Kaps will be taken in perahera to be planted in all four Devales’.
On the sixth night after Kappa, the Kumbal Perahera (also known as the “Devala Perahara”) begins and continues on for the next five days. It takes place within the premises of the four Devales with the priest of each Devale taking the pole next five nights.
On the sixth night of the perahera festival, it starts Randholi Perahera. A grander version of the Kumbal Perahera with many more dancers and elephants where at the end of the procession seven palanquins (Randholi) are carried.
Maha Randoli Perahera
The Grand Randoli Perahera is the final and the grandest perahera of the festival. The Tuskers come with garlands and are decorated with ceremonial costumes. The Diyawadana Nilame adds a novel glamour to the procession by wearing a newly stitched costume.
Water Cutting Ceremony
The next day after the final Randoli Perahera, the “Water Cutting Ceremony” will occur on the Mahaweli River bank. (Getambe Tota) The Kapuralas and the functionaries of the Devales row up the river in decorated boats & collect water after cutting the water using a golden sword.
Discovering the Spirit of Buddha in the Land of Elephants
Kasakaruwo (Wip Crackers)
Wip Crackers are on the frontline of the perahera. By sounding their wips, they inform people the perahera is on its way.
Swords bearers are to remember the swords which were raised to prevent hostilities and hazards for the Sacred Tooth Relic.
Kandyan Dancers play a significant role in the Dalada Perahera as it is their most sacred performance during their lifetime.
One of the most magnificent display in the festival is to watch fire dancers display.
In order to represent religious & cultural identity, flag bearers carry Buddhist flags and provincial flags in the perahera.
Horanewa is a well-tuned traditional Sri Lankan musical instrument popular at the Dalada Perahera.
These hereditary Drum Beaters beat their drums as a religious ritual to the Sacred Tooth Relic through the perahera.
They are the most celebrated group of tuskers (Elephants) in the world during their lifetime.