A Guide to Kandy Esala Perahera

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Given the sheer number of intriguing tours to Sri Lanka travellers can be easily overwhelmed with the sheer amount of attractions to see, regions to visit and events to experience. However one essential date upon any traveller’s calendar when visiting during mid-August is the Kandy Esala Perahera.

Introducing the must attend Sri Lankan event of August

The Esela Procession of Kandy is a much cherished date within the calendar of Sri Lanka where the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is shown respect through a beautifully decadent pageant. The Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha makes for a cherished artefact that is housed and looked after by the palace of Kandy (known as Dalada Maligawa).

What you can expect from the colourful, extravagant and beautifully immersive Kandy Esala Perahera

The procession itself features a wide range of local dances, including fire-dancers, whip-dancers and Kandyan dances, as well as an array of other cultural dances. There are elephants who equally adorn cultural dress as well as rich garments that fit in with the rainbow of colours that traditionally appear within the procession.

With each year that passes the parade seems to become ever more extravagant with event designers that out-do themselves naturally with advanced lighting used to highlight a glittering array of performers.

A glittering array of Sri-Lankan culture: From beginning to end

The Kandy Esala Perahera begins the celebrations with the Kap Situ Vemma, when a Jackfruit tree (Artocarpus integrifolia) is planted within each of the four Devales (known as the Shrines of Gods); these four Devales represent the three gods of Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and the goddess Pattini. It is traditionally thought that this act blessed the king and his people.

The procession ends on an equally as poignant a note as the traditional diya-kepeema ritual is undertaken (the diya-kepeema is a water-cutting ceremony), with the procession ending at the Mahaweli River at Getambe, Kandy.

Find out more about the Kandy Esala Parahera

A few practicalities

Exploring the festival can be undertaken at a visitor’s leisure, with many choosing to sit on the floor to watch the procession pass through the streets of Kandy (for this you may wish to bring a towel to sit on, as well as water and snacks).

Other things to see and do around Kandy

Kandy is a diverse region with a wide array of things to do and see. The three top attractions that act as the perfect example of this are the Commonwealth War Cemetery, the Specialty and Gift Shops and Candy Lake.

The Commonwealth War Cemetery

The Commonwealth War Cemetery makes for a reflective place to visit and is both beautifully maintained as well as moving.

The Specialty and Gift Shops

Rather than a singular attraction Kandy’s range of Specialty and Gift Shops include everything from the intriguing Gamage stores through to the ethical Selyn Fair Trade shop.

Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake is an idyllic setting for a relaxing afternoon – perfect for a swift walk and a sit down in the afternoon sun.

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