Kandy is a city bursting with culture and heritage, and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the city’s crown jewel. Being one of the most sacred locations in Sri Lanka, the Sri Dalada Maligawa as it’s referred to locally is an absolute must-visit if you’re ever in Kandy.
The reason as to why the temple is so venerated by Sri Lankans is the titular sacred tooth relic that it holds within. The relic belongs to the Gautam Buddha and was brought to Sri Lanka all the way back in the early 4th century. Since that time, various reigning monarch constructed temples and palaces to house this revered artefact.
The temple in Kandy was built by Vira Narendra Singha, who was also the last Sinhalese king of the island. The octagonal “paththirippuwa” which is one of the most notable features of the temple was added later by Sri Vickrama Rajasinghe.
When exploring the temple, you’ll come across several unique architectural design choices. For starters, you’ll probably notice the many holes etched onto the outer walls of the temple. These are intended to hold oil lamps during special events and celebrations. Along its interiors, brilliant murals depicting life in ancient Kandy can be found. What’s more, brilliantly sculpted shrines and statues of the Buddha can be found all over the temple’s premises.
The sacred tooth relic itself is held at the centre of the main shine. A golden canopy is present over this section of the temple and the main area is encased with a golden fence. The relic is encased in several golden caskets that are decorated with ornate gemstones and other precious metals. All in all, it is truly a sight that will leave you in awe and wonder.