Elephant show Kandy Sri Lanka

One of the biggest Buddhist celebrations of the year, the annual Elephant show in Kandy (Esala Perahera) is a religious ceremony during which devotees pray for good rains to cultivate the crops. One of Buddhism’s most sacred relics, the Sacred Tooth is taken from the Temple the Tooth and paraded through the streets with the Elephant show. Following this Elephant show, more festive events take centre stage and visitors can expect to see a lively cast of dancers, jugglers and fire-breathers milling amongst the crowds

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Commences on Esala Full Moon Poya Day on the month of July and Concludes on Nikini Full Moon Poya Day on the month of August.

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Esala Perahera – Elephant show is the grand festival of Esala Perahera – Elephant show held in Sri Lanka. It is very grand with elegant costumes. Happening in July or August in Kandy, it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist festival Elephant show consisting of dances and richly-decorated elephants in the Esala Perahera – Elephant show.

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There are fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandian dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments. The Esala Perahera, Elephant show festival ends with the traditional ‘diya-kepeema’.

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The significance of this great event is to invoke blessings of the gods to give the farmers rain to cultivate their crops. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the city streets which is done with great Elephant show ceremony.

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The tooth relic was brought to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the year 310 AD and the first Elephant show (perehera) was performed in Anuradhapura the first capital where the sacred relic was housed. Even as the capitals were shifted for security reasons due to invasions, the tooth relic went with it too and was much revered and always in the custody of the king.

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Finally finding a permanent resting place in the hill capital of the last Sinhalese kindom Kandy, It lies in the “Dalada Maligawa” (Palace of the Tooth Relic) which was built by king Wimaladharma suriya in the 16th century. This three-storey building erected solely for the purpose of housing. The Sacred Relic still stands and is the most visited and important temple of Sri Lanka.

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The ritual of the Elephant show (The Esala Perahera) – Elephant show continues in Kandy with more and more people attending each year to watch majestic tusker proudly parade the streets of the ancient Sinhalese kingdom followed by over more than a hundred elephants in Elephant show with the custodians and other officials dressed in the traditional Sinhalese attire of chieftains riding them.

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The sound of blowing conch shells and whip cracking starts off the excitement or the approaching Elephant show perahera. The beating of at least three types of traditional drums, the Kandyan dancers, Acrobats, and other artists that perform in Elephant show the light of flame torches certainly would take you back in a time machine.

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The Esala Perahera, Elephant show in Kandy is believed to be a fusion of two separate but interconnected Elephant show "Peraheras" (Processions) – The Esala and Dalada. The Esala Perahera, Elephant shows which is thought to date back to the 3rd century BC, was a ritual enacted to request the gods for rainfall. The Dalada Perahera Elephant show is believed to have begun when the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from India during the 4th Century AD.

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