Temple of Tooth. Kandy, Sri Lanka,

The real name for this is the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. However our itinerary simply said Temple of Tooth, so I’m going with that.

This a beautiful temple.

The temple is the main attraction in Kandy, especially in July/August when a procession led by thousands of Kandyan dancers lead over a hundred highly decorated Elephants through the town. This draws tens of thousands of devotees and goes on for 10 days.

The temple was attacked by the Tamil Tigers  during the civil war, but the damage was  minimal and has been repaired.

Of course you must remove your shoes before you enter the temple. At the door is what is called a moon stone. This is a traditional and significant item to stand on for a quick pause before you enter the temple.

The tooth is a tooth of Buddha.  I was expecting a little glass box with a tooth inside of it. Sort of like the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, only smaller,people would wander past and take a glance.

Boy was I wrong.  Three times a day a service happens with drummers and dancers.

Loud, raucous and colorful!

The history of this tooth goes all the way back to the funeral pyre of Buddha where the tooth was snatched from the fire, then years later smuggled into Sri Lanka in the hair of a princess. Possession of the tooth was tantamount to ruling power. So, when the Portuguese came to Sri Lanka they stole it away. But wait! They only stole a replica say the devotees. Some say that the tooth here is only a replica and the real tooth is hidden away in a secure and secret location.

However, judging from the number of devotees that show up, wait in line and make offerings, I think that the people of Kandy believe this is the true incisor. Sri Lankan Buddhists believe they must make at least on pilgrimage to this temple in their lives.

But here is where I was disappointed.  Three times a day a heavily guarded room is open for what they call pujas, which consist of offerings (mostly flowers) and prayers. Then the long line of devotees slowly pass by a doorway to the room where the tooth is.

This is what they come to see and worship. This is not my photo. I did not get close enough and the lighting was weird, and there were a lotof people jousting for position. This is about 6 feet tall.

So where is the tooth? you ask. As it turns out there are six more of these Stupa shaped solid gold, jewel encrusted containers, each smaller than the other inside this one. Only once a year are they removed so you can actually see the tooth. It must be a madhouse.

That is it for Temple of Tooth. Next post will be a visit to a wonderful waterfall,with the very best hawkers I have  ever run across!

Thanks for reading and share this with friends.

About forrestwalker

An expat living overseas, traveling with my wife extensively and sharing the experiences with you!.

Posted on February 5, 2012, in Sri Lanka and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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