Temple of the Tooth

The Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic is one of the holiest temples in the Buddhist world, as it houses the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha that was brought from India. It is considered the symbolic representation of the living Buddha. The holy temple is also responsible for one of the oldest processions in Asia dating back to the 3rd century BC, which has become one of the main attractions in Kandy for locals and foreigners alike.

Best Known For

Culture and Heritage:

  • Housing the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha after he was cremated in India, it has become the symbolic representation of the living Buddha and is a site of pilgrimage.
  • It is ideal for the traveller yearning to experience and learn how the virtues of Buddhism are deeply intertwined with the unique culture and history of the country as reflected in the temple’s immaculate wood carvings and murals depicting the life of ancient Sri Lankan society.
  • Every July the Buddhist temple is responsible for hosting the Esala Perahera, a procession dating back to the 3rd century. This procession is actually a fusion of two religious rituals. The first being the sacred ritual of asking the gods for rainfall in order to obtain a bountiful harvest. The second is paying homage to the sacred tooth relic. This procession is adorned with colourful and unique displays on the city streets along with dancing elephants adorned in majesty attracting attention worldwide, due to its historical significance.

Interesting Facts

  • The temple of the tooth houses the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha after he was cremated in India.
  • According to legend, Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamali of India smuggled it to Sri Lanka due to the warring regions of India, in order to keep it safe from destruction.
  • Because of the power shifts among the kingdoms in Sri Lanka, the sacred relic was housed in many temples before it found its way to the sacred shrine of the current temple constructed by King Vimaladharmasuriya I during the era of the Kandyan kingdom in the 16th century AC, which is also the last kingdom of the country.
  • The temple is responsible for hosting two important processions that make up the Kandy Esala Perahera in the month of July. The first being the Esala Perahera, a religious ritual requesting the gods for rainfall dating back to the 3rd century BC. The second being the Dalada Perahera, paying homage to the sacred relic by parading it around the streets of the town since the 4th century.
  • The temple also connects the Royal Palace of the Kandyan kingdom since the kings did not only see it as a religious symbol, but also a symbol of power over the kingdom.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The temple is open to visitors all year round. The best time to visit the temple is during off peak season between the months of February and April since the crowds will be significantly less. However, when visiting during the month of July, it is possible to witness the grandeur of the temple since it prepares itself for the Kandy perahera.
  • Visiting hours to the temple are from 5:30am - 8:00pm, however, it is quite tricky due to the various poojas (rituals and offerings) in which only a limited amount of visitors will be permitted. If you want to witness the poojas then it is best to visit it during the following times:
    • 5:30am - 6:45am.
    • 9:30am - 11:00am.
    • 6:30pm - 8:00pm.
  • ​Entrance fee would cost LKR 1,500.
  • It is strictly prohibited to enter the sacred temple without covering the shoulders and legs. If you dislike wearing longs due to the weather, you could wear a sarong to cover your legs.
  • Taking pictures inside the temple is sometimes not allowed as it is considered disrespectful and could damage certain murals, however, there are areas of the temple where it is permissible to take pictures. Just ask one of the guards if it is okay to photograph.
  • Make sure any sort of dangerous items, like sharp metal objects are not carried with you when entering the vahalkadas (entrances) as security guards search you and will confiscate it. Be minimalist as possible with the items you bring.

It does not go without saying that if you do visit Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth Relic should be a priority in your list of things to do since the holy temple, arguably, embodies the main religion and culture of Sri Lankan society at large.

Title image by: Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bereau The information displayed is provided by Temple of the Tooth






LKR 1,500
Children - Free of Charge

Tickets At


Culture and Heritage

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