Kandy Esala Perahera Festival

The Most Colourful Buddhist Festival In The World.

21st August – 31st August 2023

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.

Perahera Events

Kap Planting Ceremony

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’.

Kumbal Perahera

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.

Elephant baring dalada karaduwa
Elephants baring dalada karaduwa

Randoli Perahera

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.

Elephant baring dalada karaduwa
Dalada Perahera Water Cutting Ceremoney

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.

Perahera Schedule

1st Kumbal Perahera — 21st August 2023

2nd Kumbal Perahera — 22nd August 2023

3rd Kumbal Perahera — 23rd August 2023

4th Kumbal Perahera — 24th August 2023

5th Kumbal Perahera — 25th August 2023

1st Randoli Perahera — 26th August 2023

2nd Randoli Perahera — 27th August 2023

3rd Randoli Perahera — 28th August 2023

4th Randoli Perahera — 29th August 2023

Final Randoli Perahera (The Grand Randoli Perahera) — 30th August 2023

The water-cutting ceremony (Diya Kapeema) — 31st August 2023

Discovering the Spirit of Buddha in the Land of Elephants

Perahera Items

Wip crackers performing at the dalada perahera

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 at Kandy Esala Perahera

Swords Bearers

Swords bearers are to remember the swords which were raised to prevent hostilities and hazards for the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Kandyan dancers performing at dalada perahera

Kandyan Dancers

Kandyan Dancers play a significant role in the Dalada Perahera as it is their most sacred performance during their lifetime. 

Fire Dancers

One of the most magnificent display in the festival is to watch fire dancers display.

Flag barers at Kandy Esala Perahera

Flag Bearers

In order to represent religious & cultural identity, flag bearers carry Buddhist flags and provincial flags in the perahera.

Horanekaruwo at Dalada Perahera


Horanewa is a well-tuned traditional Sri Lankan musical instrument popular at the Dalada Perahera.

Traditional drummers performing during Kandy Esala Perahera


These hereditary Drum Beaters beat their drums as a religious ritual to the Sacred Tooth Relic through the perahera.

Elephants baring dalada karaduwa

Ceremonial Tuskers

They are the most celebrated group of tuskers (Elephants) in the world during their lifetime.








Perahera Image Gallery