The archaeological and historical heritage of Kandy Esala Perahera

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Kandy Esala Perahera

Perahera Location : Kandy
Perahera type : Esala Perahera
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Purpose : The purpose of the Kandy Esala Perahera Procession is to beseech blessings of the gods to obtain rain for the cultivation of crops and to enrich the lands of the kingdom.
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History of Perahera : This historical procession (perahera) is held annually to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic ofLord Buddha, which is housed at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the streets of the Kandy city which is done with exceptional panache. This is considered as one of the most beautiful pageants in the Asia. The first ritual "Kap Situweema" (planting of a sanctified young Jackfruit Tree) will be held to commence the rituals that start off Perahera. The ritual is performed according to an auspicious time decided by astrologers. The Jackfruit tree is sprinkled with sandalwood scented water and offerings are is made of nine kinds of flowers and an oil lamp with nine wicks. The priest of the Maha Vishnu Devale (Vishnu Temple) recites his prayers to all the gods.
Participants : A unique symbol of Sri Lanka, the procession consists of many traditional local dances such as fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandyan dances and various other cultural dances, in addition to the elephants who are usually adorned with lavish garments
Other important facts : The lunar month of Esala is a month for festivals and peraheras all around the island. Easily the finest and most famous is the Esala Perahera, held at Kandy over the 10 days leading up to the Esala Poyaday (late July or early August). The festival dates back to ancientAnuradhapura, when the Tooth Relic was taken through the city in procession, and the pattern continues to this day, with the relic carried at the head of an enormous procession which winds its way round and round the city by night.
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  • Kandy , Sri Lanka

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