The Temple of the Tooth

This temple known in Sinhalese as Dalada Malgawa dates from the 16th century, though most of the present buildings were built in the 19th century. This temple is known to be the most sacred place of Buddhist worship as it holds the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha which has been safeguarded over the centuries by custodian kings against various invaders. Safeguarding this relic was safeguarding the kingdom and the throne of the kings the final resting place over the centuries has been this marvelous temple built bordering a rich rain-forest in the heart of the Kandy city.

Entering the shrine over a moonstone step, you pass a stone depicting the Indian goddess Lakshmi and a wall with frescoes illustrating the Buddhist conception of hell.  The upper stories house the relic of the tooth, caged behind the gilded iron bars.  Behind the tooth relic sanctuary is a hall with a number of golden Buddha statues and modern paintings, showing Buddha’s life and the arrival of Buddhism in the land.  The best time to visit the temple is in the evenings when the ritual known as “thewawa” begins with drumming and trumpet blowing, which precedes the ceremonious opening of the window for the public for viewing of the casket with the tooth.

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