The Esala Perahera in Kandy, the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka

The Esala Perahera in Kandy is celebrated to honour the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four ‘guardian’ Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini. The Kandy Maligawa Perahera is followed in order by those of the Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini ‘Devales’ (Temples dedicated to these Gods) which are situated in the vicinity of the Kandy Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth).

After the Kandyan Kingdom fell to the British in 1815, the custody of the Tooth Relic was handed over to the Buddhist Clergy. In the absence of the King, a lay custodian called the Diyawadana Nilame was appointed to handle routine administrative matters. 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.

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.

Kandy Esala Perahera 2016. (Event schedule)

Event Date
Kap planting of the four devalas 03rd / 5 th of August
Dewala Perahara (Inside Dewala Procession) 05 th-07th of August
1st Kumbal Perahara (Kumbal Procession) 08 th of August
2nd Kumbal Perahara (Kumbal Procession) 09 st of August
3rd Kumbal Perahara (Kumbal Procession) 10th of August
4th Kumbal Perahara (Kumbal Procession) 11th of August
5th Kumbal Perahara (Final Kumbal Procession) 12th of August
1st Randoli Perahara (First Randoli Procession) 13th of August
2nd Randoli Perahara (Second Randoli Procession) 14th of August
3rd Randoli Perahara (Third Randoli Procession) 15 th of August
4th Randoli Perahara (Fourth Randoli Procession) 16th of August
Final Randoli Perahara (Final Randoli Procession) 17th of August
Dawal Perahara (Day Procession) 18th of August