The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, or Sri Dalada Maligawa, as it is known locally, is one of the most-visited destinations in Kandy. The most sacred Buddhist shrine is said to possess a sacred tooth relic of Buddha, more precisely his right canine, which has been preserved safely.
No wonder the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, housing the corporeal remains of Buddha, is considered as a prime monument, not only amongst the Buddhist population in Sri Lanka, but across the globe. It is partially due to the presence of the temple in Kandy that it has been inscribed in the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Site.
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic History
The temple has a very long history, dating back to the latter part of the 16th century. According to popular belief, construction work was completed in the 1595, by Vimaladharmasuriya I. Throughout history there have been constant structural and architectural additions and changes, owing to invasions by Portuguese, natural calamities and terrorist bombings.
The most excessive damage to the temple was the result of terrorist attacks in 1998. The magnitude of physical harm was considerable; still it has been restored to its previous state by continuous repair and renovation work. The present temple structure is surrounded by the Royal Palace, the Audience Hall, and Mahamaluwa. A moat also runs around the boundary of the entire place.
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic Culture
The sacred tooth rests in a Chedi made purely out of gold. Every six years, it is displayed to the public. Every Wednesday, monks and priests perform a symbolic bathing of the relic, with a preparation made of fragrant flowers and scented water. The holy water is then distributed amongst people who are present, as it is believed to contain healing powers.