Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth

One of the most pleasant town’s in Sri Lanka is without a doubt Kandy. Up in the hills, it’s a great base for exploring the region and it also has plenty to see in town as well. There are plenty of great eateries and accommodation. But for Buddhists across Sri Lanka, the highlight must be the incredible temple Sri Dalada Maligawa, or the ‘Temple of the Tooth’.

Entrance to the grounds of the temple from street.

It’s been five years since I visited Sri Lanka, but I will remember my visit to the Temple of the Tooth for a long time, that’s for sure. It was festival time. I wish I could remember what the festival actually was – but this affected the number of people who were visiting on the day. It was a lot. Thousands and thousands.

Just getting into the temple was a slow, long process. Squashed in amongst all the devotees and visitors, the crush to get in started outside the temple. I couldn’t honestly say ‘line’ or ‘queue’, because it really didn’t function like that. Families, individuals, young and old. This was the day to visit the Temple of the Tooth!

The entrance was by the lake where two main roads met. It was essentially a big left-hand corner with open space. We went into a big open area which approached the temple entrance. It was there that the crush began. Up some stairs, then over a bridge that crossed a moat.

From there there was a decorated tunnel into the main building. It was like a grand house really, a mansion. Up several flights of stair. Eventually we were in the main part.

The main prayer room was quite attractive. But did I get to see the tooth? Yes. But sadly no photos. I presume (quite reasonably) we weren’t allowed. Oh, what tooth is the tooth? It is apparently the tooth of Gautama Buddha. Brought to Sri Lanka in the 4th century. So that’s some decent enamel to still be going strong!

The grounds were filled with people enjoying the day. There were animals aplenty – particularly monkeys. But there was also a poor old elephant in chains.

It was a day of crowds and it took a good hour to get to the tooth and the main part of the complex, but it’s well worth visiting and a Kandy highlight. Thanks for reading, and May the Journey Never End!

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