Temple of Sacred Tooth - Relic of Buddha's Tooth
Temple of Sacred Tooth located in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka holds the relic of left upper canine tooth of Lord Buddha himself.
Temple of Sacred Tooth is one of the popular Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and is popularly known as Sri Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka. The temple of Sacred Tooth is situated in the royal complex in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. The City Kandy was an ancient kingdom during the lifetime of Lord Buddha. The temple of Sacred Tooth is considered quite important since this temple holds the relic of the real tooth of the Lord Buddha. Sri Dalada Malagawa is believed to hold the left upper canine tooth of Lord Buddha. The relics of Buddha sacred tooth hold quite important role in the political reign in Sri Lankan Government since it is believed that whoever holds the relic of the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha holds the power of government of the country.
Rituals and worship are performed regularly on a daily basis by Buddhist monks of Malwatte and Asgiriya. These Buddhist monks worship and perform various rituals in the inner chamber of the temple. These rituals are performed three times a day: at dawn, at noon and at evening. The temple of Sacred Tooth of Kandy is enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage site due to ancient history and relic of Lord Buddha.
History of Temple of Sacred Tooth
The origin of Temple of Sacred Tooth goes back to the time when Lord Buddha was alive. Before attaining Final Nirvana, Lord Buddha suggested his disciples who truly understand the Dharma that they needn’t need to keep the relic of his ashes and worshipped them. According to some legends, a Buddhist monk named Khema became successful to take the left upper canine tooth during Lord Buddha funeral. It is believed that the same tooth was enshrined in the inner chamber of Sacred Tooth temple.
Lord Buddha tooth was an object of great importance and reverence and was decorated with a nested jewelry. No actual date can be found when the tooth was enshrined in Sri Dalada Maligawa. It was believed that the sacred tooth was moved and separate temple was built to honor such great relics. The temple was built when the Capital was moved to Kandy and the construction of the temple started during late 17th Century. Various attacks and bombarding took place to destroy the temple by the Portuguese , Dutch andHindu Tamil separatists. But the relic of Lord Buddha survived and can still be found and worshipped.
Sacred Tooth Temple
The Temple of Sacred Tooth is surrounded by the beautiful garden and there are various associated buildings and structure in the temple such as the royal palace, audience hall, and Mahamaluwa. The temple is not decorated magnificently and has red and white roofs whereas the inner temple is decorated quite magnificently and buildings are richly carved. The relic of Lord Buddha’s tooth is enshrined in two-story inner chamber and two large elephant tusks is placed in the front of the shrine. The whole building and complex is a stone wall with white painting and during the various festivals and celebration, candles are lighted in the entire front.
Esala Perahera is one of the grand festivals celebrated in Asia and even considered as the largest Buddhist celebration in the world. Esala Perahera is held in the month of July and August and held in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka . This festival is celebrated in order to respect, worship and pay homage to the relic of Sacred Tooth of Lord Buddha. Esala Perahera is a ten-day festival and parades of dancers, drummers are invited to the festival. In the procession, a royal male elephant is chosen to carry the great relic of Sacred Tooth followed by two perfectly matched female elephant. Since 1990, a casket is carried instead of the relic due to fear of robbery by Tamil Tigers. Since it is the largest Buddhist celebration in the world, the attendance on the festival reached up to million devotees and interested people.