The Mount View Holiday Bungalow

Temple of the Tooth

Temple of the Tooth – Kandy

Without a doubt, the Sacred Tooth Relic (Dalada) of the Buddha is the most venerated object of worship for Buddhists.

Its present house, the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is considered the foremost sacred place of worship in the Buddhist world.

The original temple which was built by King Wimaladharmasooriya the 2nd in 1687 AD was destroyed by the Portuguese. Throughout a century many kings were restored the temple but it was more significant during the time of the King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1797-1815).One of the relic of the tooth of the Lord Buddha is housed by Sri Dalada Maligawa. The Tooth Relic has played a major role in local politics as well as peoples’ lives. Ancient people believed that the governance of the country only can be hold by the person who holds the tooth relic. People also believe that the Tooth Relic protects the country against drought. The sacred tooth relic was smuggled to Sri Lanka by Princess Hemamali and Prince Dantha from India during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna (301-328). Since then all the kings that ruled the country protect the Tooth Relic till the present day temple which was built by King Vira Narendra Singhe is housing it. Later the king Sri Vickrama Rajasinghe added the octagon or the “Patthirippuwa” which was first used by the king to address the people.

You enter the temple through the main entrance gate which is called “Mahawahalkada”. There is a “Sandakada Pahana”, stone carving which shows the Kandyan architectural style at the foot of the steps of the main entrance. As you enter to the temple you can see two walls. The inner wall is called “Diyareli Bamma” or the wall of water ripples where the outer wall is called “Walakulu Bamma” or the wall of clouds. Then you come to the “Makara Thorana” and starting from that is a tunnel called “Ambarawa”. Tunnel leads to the main shrine complex which is a two storied building. The lower chamber is called “Pallemaluwa”. The place where the beating of drums and other traditional music performed during ritual service hours is called the Drummers courtyard or the “Hevisi Mandapaya”. The Tooth Relic casket is placed in the upper chamber which is called “Uda Male or Vadahitina Maligawa”. There is a shrine room called ” Aramudal-ge” to the right side of the octagon. There is a precious crystal Buddha image in this room. The staircases at the each end of the Drummers courtyard lead to the Recitation Hall. There are three rooms in the upper chamber. The first and second rooms are called Sandalwood Shed. The third room is where the Tooth Relic resides. The exposition of the Tooth Relic is taken place in the first room.

The Tooth Relic is enclosed with seven golden caskets. The outer most caskets are covered with jewelry offered to the relic. There is another casket which is taken in the Perahera. The monks of the Malwatta and Asgiriya Maha Viharas perform daily rituals according to their turn each year. The beat of drums from the drummers’ courtyard below marks the daily services.

Daily rituals or Tevava conducted daily at regular times of the day in the morning, noon and evening. Morning rituals are started at 0530hrs then at 0930hrs and the evening rituals are started at 1830hrs. The shrine room is opened every day at these times for rituals. Few of the public also can participate in this event. Only Sri Lankans and special permitted tourists from Japan and Thailand are allowed to view the Tooth Relic and participate in this event.