Kandy Esala Perahera is located in the Central Province. Kandy is a popular tourist destination both locally and internationally. Kandy is the second-largest city in Sri Lanka. After, the capital city of Colombo and located about 3 hours from Colombo. It was the home of the last monarchy in Sri Lanka. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
It was the home of the last monarchy in Sri Lanka and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Esala Perahera is also known as the Kandy Festival. It is an ancient Buddhist festival commemorating the first teachings of the Buddha after attaining Enlightenment. It is believed that the Kandy Esala Perahera has taken its present form since the reign of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe. There is also evidence that the present-day Esala Perahera may have started around the middle of the 18th century AD.
The ceremony will be held for ten nights and the Tooth Relic will be worshiped at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. The 2021 dates for the Kandy Esala Perahera will commence on Saturday 14th August 2021 and end on Tuesday 24th August 2021. The festival lasts for 10 days.
Nearly one million people come to Kandy every year for this festival, which is full of colorful and lively processions and festivities. However, due to the global epidemic this year, the number of tourists visiting the Perahera has been restricted. But the procession will be as festive as in other years.
Unique Festival in whole Asia
Sri Lanka has a lot of colorful festivals, but there is no festival as spectacular as Kandy, one of the most unique in the whole of Asia. This Esala Perahera is celebrated in honor of the Tooth Relic of the Buddha as well as the deities Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama, and Pattini.
Esala Perahera in Kandy is ten days that are filled with grand processions featuring thousands of dancers, musicians, drummers, fire dancers, jugglers, acrobats, fire-breathers, singers, hundreds of elephants, and gorgeous traditional costumes. The first 5 nights of the festival are called Kumbal Perahera and the last 5 nights are called Randoli Perahera.
Kap Tree ceremony in Kandy Esala Perahera
The Kandy Festival starts with a Kap Tree known as a Jackfruit tree being planted. A priest will then recite prayers and dedications to the different gods who follow Buddha. This includes Pattini the goddess of chastity, Vishnu the god of protection, Kataragama the guardian deity, and Natha the embodiment of compassion.
Kumbal Perahera in Kandy Esala Perahera
It consists of five nightly processions and is celebrated every day. As the procession moves around the city, each procession begins individually and merges into one. The main procession starts from the Temple of the Tooth and the other four temples of the four Hindu deities.
The palace carries an image of the Tooth Relic in the procession and leads the procession. The other four processions carry their own temple emblem. The second procession is dedicated to God Natha. The third procession is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
The fourth procession is dedicated to the god Skanda and includes special peacock dances. The final procession is dedicated to Goddess Pattini and includes mainly female dancers. A group of singers dressed in white heralds the arrival of the Maligawa Tusker carrying the Sacred Tooth Relic.
The Diyawadana Nilame walks in traditional Kandyan-clothed splendor after the tusker. The Parade of the Tooth Relic features over 5000 dancers, drummers, whip crackers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, and over 100 decorated elephants. Every actor wears beautiful fancy clothes. Even the elephants dress up in fairy lights and create a charming atmosphere.
The Randoli Perahera in Kandy Esala Perahara
The Randoli Perahera will begin after 5 nights of Kumbal perahara. Randoli is the scaffolding traditionally visited by the queens of the ruling kings.
Diya Kepeema and the Day Perahera in Kandy Esala Perahara
On the last day of the celebration, a water ceremony occurs before dawn which sees the chief priests wade into the Ganga River and use a sword to ‘cut’ the water separating pure from impure. The Peraheras start marching back to Kandy and end up back at their respective temples, officially closing the Kandy Festival.