Temple of the Tooth
The Temple of the Tooth
The Temple of the Tooth, or Sri Dalada Maligawa is a temple in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. It was built within the royal palace complex ,which houses the only surviving relic of Buddha, which is venerated by Buddhists. The relic, which is situated in the Temple of the Tooth played an important role in local politics since ancient times; it’s believed that whoever holds the Temple of the Tooth relic holds the governance of the country, which naturally caused the ancient kings to protect the Temple of the Tooth with great effort! Kandy was the capital of the Sinhalese kings.
Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily ritual worship in the inner chamber of the Temple of tooth, in annual rotation. They conduct these services three times a day: at dawn, at noon and in the evening.
On Wednesdays a symbolic bathing of the Sacred Relic is held in the Temple of tooth with a herbal preparation made from scented water and flagrant flowers, called Nanumura Mangallaya. This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among those present.
What to See in Temple of the Tooth
On the outside, Temple of tooth buildings are not magnificent or elaborately decorated. White, with red roofs, they cluster around Kandy Lake (the island in the middle once housed the king’s harem).
Temple of tooth Interiors. In striking contrast to the plain exterior, the interiors of the temple buildings are richly carved and decorated with inlaid woods, ivory, and lacquer.
Around the entire Temple of tooth complex is a low white stone wall, delicately and simply carved with openings that give a filigree effect. During celebrations, candles are placed in the openings, lighting up the entire front of Temple of tooth.
The relic of the tooth is kept in a two-story inner shrine fronted by two large elephant tusks inside Temple of tooth. The relic rests on a solid gold lotus flower, encased in jeweled caskets that sit on a throne.
The Temple of The Tooth is joined to the Pattiripuwa (Octagon) tower, built in 1803, that was originally a prison but now houses a collection of palm-leaf manuscripts. The king’s palace is also in compound of the Temple of The Tooth.
Commemorating Poson at the Temple of Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa)
The Temple of tooth Relic of the Buddha, the Sri Dalada Maligawa is a hallowed place of worship for all Buddhists the world over. Among other special events Poson Purapasaloswaka Poya the full moon day in June each year, is marked by special Poson programmes.
Poson Poya is significant because it was on such a full moon Poya day that Mahinda Maha Thera set foot in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the emphasis is on Mihintale, eight km away from Anuradhapura where Mahinda Maha Thera met King Devanampiyatissa.
Painting depicting Princess Hemamala and Prince Danta bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic to Sri Lanka.
The Maha Thera (head monk) arrived in Mihintale with his entourage comprising theras Ittiya, Uttiya, Sambala, Baddhasala, Sumana samanera and Upasaka Banduka who was the only layman.
Standing atop the Missaka rock, they watched King Devanampiyatissa hunting and aiming his arrow at a frightened, cornered deer. ‘Tissa’ said Mahinda Maha Thera. A surprised king looked up at the rock wondering who could be calling him thus. Seeing the yellow robed figures in calm silence, he moved to take a closer look. The Maha Thera, wishing to judge the king’s intellect, asked him a few questions which the king answered intelligently. Then Mahinda Maha Thera decided that the king would understand the Buddha Dhamma and its deep philosophy. There was a discourse of the Chullahattipadopama Sutta which was understood by the king. The reformed king Devanampiyatissa threw away his bow and arrow and embraced Buddhism.
Mahinda Maha Thera was the son of the great Emperor Asoka of India, who after winning many wars and seeing the great destruction in the Kalinga war, realized the futility of it all and embraced Buddhism. With the Buddha’s Parinibbhana, (passing away) many kings in Dambadiva claimed the Buddha’s relics. A Brahmana named Drona resolved this by dividing the relics into eight portions. But, he quietly hid the left canine tooth of the Buddha in his turban. However, he was unable to keep it for himself and finally it was owned by the king of Kalinga. With many wars in the country and the insecure situation in Kalinga and realising the possibility of the Sacred Tooth Relic being lost, King Guhasiva decided to send the relic to Sri Lanka through his daughter princess Hemamala and her husband prince Danta. They brought it to Sri Lanka disguised as travelers and arrived in Anuradhapura. Meeting the king Kirtisri Meghavanna also known as Kitsiri Mevan, they gifted the Sri Dalada (the Sacred Tooth Relic) to him. The Relic was venerated and taken in a perahera (procession) to the palace.
With many wars and various kings ruling the country, the Sacred Tooth Relic, which was now safeguarded at the Temple of the tooth was shifted to Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Gampola, and Kotte in turns It is stated that in 1592, King Wimaladharmasuriya I brought it to Kandy to the Temple of the Tooth from Seethawaka Delgamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya in Kuruwita, Ratnapura.
The Sinhala as well as the Nayakkar kings who ascended the Kandyan throne guarded, revered and paid homage to the Relic placing it in a shrine in the precincts of the royal palace in the Temple of the tooth.
Even during British rule, the administrators agreed to continue to protect the Sacred Tooth Relic in the Temple of the Tooth and conduct religious rituals and ceremonies . In 1853 the British handed over custody of the Sacred Tooth Relic, to the most Venerable Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters and the Diyawadana Nilame. From that time the Tevava’(religious service) was conducted alternately by the Asgiriya and Malwatte viharas. The change and handing over of the duties are carried out on Esala Poya day every year when the ‘Vas’ season begins. The Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) conducts festivals and peraheras (processions) for the Aluth Sahal Mangalya in January, New Year festival in April, Vesak perahera and Upasampada(high ordination) ceremony and Waahala Naaga perahera in May, Poson perahera in June, Esala perahera in July/August and Karthika Mangalya -Aloka pooja in November. Every Wednesday, the Nanamura Mangalya ceremony is performed in the Temple of the Tooth.
A ‘Sila Vyaparaya’ (Religious observances campaign) being conducted for about six hundred observers of ‘Ata Sil’ (Eight precepts) . Programmes include Buddhist lectures, meditation sesssions and prayer chanting.
‘Seth Pirith’ being chanted and after ‘Sil Pavaaranaya’ the sila vyaparaya was concluded. Students from the Temple of tooth (Sri Dalada) Daham Pasala, Asgiriya Buddhist Centre singing ‘Budhu Guna Gee’.(Buddhist songs)
To conclude the Poson (Full Moon) Poya activities, later in the evening, a perahera with about ten elephants, dancers, drummers, flag bearers and torch bearers parades three times round the Temple of the Tooth Palace square. Hundreds of devotees come to venerate and pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic at the Sri Dalada Maligawa on Poya days.
The Mihindu Perahera commemorates of the visit of Maha Thera Mahinda who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka on a Poson Poya day.
Temple of tooth – Massive crowds worship at the Temple of The Tooth (Sri Dalada)
The Sacred Tooth Relic exposition at the Temple of the Tooth, which is being held at the Temple of The Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy) had drawn over 1.2 million devotees during the last few days.
Daily queues of four persons abreast are formed in the afternoon and extend along Sri Sangaraja Mawatha upto Maha Maya College and other queues on Dharmapala Mawatha also extend very far every day during this event.
Though rains beat down in the afternoons or evenings, pilgrims remain in queues and voluntary religious organisations and individuals provide drinks and refreshments to the pilgrims.
But the influx of heavy traffic mainly carrying pilgrims to the city in the afternoon creates traffic congestion and some of the roads have been closed to traffic, especially those near the Temple of the Tooth Sri Dalada Maligawa. Large crowds congregate in the city from morning to worship the Tooth Relic.
Countless millions of devotees have so far worshipped at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth at the exposition at the Sri Temple of Tooth Dalada Maligawa over the years.
During the event daily large crowds throng to Temple of Tooth Kandy to worship the exposition and the queues which are 3 or 4 lines in breadth extend upto Vidyartha College. There are several other queues too along Sri Sangaraja Mawatha which extend upto Temple of Tooth Mahamaya College and also along Dharmapala Mawatha.
The very hot sunshine in the mornings and the rains in the afternoons do not discourage the large crowds who wend their way for their turn to worship at the Sri Dalada Maligawa. Many organisations and individuals provide free refreshments and drinks to those in the queues.
There are also mobile toilets for the convenience of the crowds
The Kandy Police under the direction of the Central Province DIG Pujitha Jayasundera perform good servicein helping the crowds with their courteous approach
But the main problem faced by the residents and the visitors to Kandy is traffic jams and congestion resulting from a very large number of vehicles coming into the city and leaving the city. This is experienced mostly in the afternoons.
A couple of roads near the Sri Dalada Maligawa have been closed for better control of the large crowds and as a result, traffic from the Katugastota side has been diverted through either cemetery road or the turn off from D.S. Senanayake Veediya into Haras Weediya, Yatinuwara Veediya and the upper section of Colombo Street.
A number of streets have also been declared ‘No Parking’ zones.
The Kandy Police has also decided on a temporary measure to ease the traffic jams to make William Gopallawa Mawatha one way from the Hospital junction upto Gatambe. . Only vehicles leaving Kandy will be permitted to use this road.
Likewise the old Peradeniya Road is also one way from Gatambe and only vehicles coming into Kandy will be permitted to use this road.
Large crowds are seen in Kandy in the mornings too to worship the Sacred Tooth Relic at the Temple of the Tooth.
Large crowds were seen in Kandy yesterday morning too to worship the Sacred Temple of Tooth Tooth Relic Download Temple of Tooth