The Esala Perahera

The Esala Perahera (Procession) is one of Sri Lanka’s most spectacular festivals. This celebration continues for 10 consecutive days during the months of July and August in Kandy, Sri-Lanka.

The purpose of the procession is to carry the Tooth Relic of Buddha kept in the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) on other days, for the masses to see and venerate.The main Perahera procession is made up of 5 separate processions: The Dalada Maligawa Perahera, The Natha Dewala Perahera, The Maha Vishnu Dewala Perahera, The Katharagama Dewale Perahera, and The Pattini Dewale Perahera.
The procession has such a large variety of performers from fire-juggling acrobats traditional dancers, musicians and palanquins to whip crackers, torch bearers and even elephants decorated and neon-lighted garments. The procession also includes thousands of barefoot pilgrims who have traveled far to be a part of it.

The whip crackers lead the procession, announcing the approach of the Perahera with the cracking of their whips. Next, come the flag bearers in a single file along the two ends of the road, carrying the standards of the different provinces and temples. The Peramunerala, the official who leads the elephants, rides in front and is followed by the drummers. The Gajanayaka Nilame, who is head of the King’s Elephant Stables, and the Kariyakorale, who is in charge of all festivities connected with the Maligawa follow. The highlight of the procession is the Maligawe Tusker who carries the golden casket which contains the sacred relics. Two lines of dancers follow the tusker, at the end of which walks the Diyawadana Nilame. All spectators are expected to stand when the golden casket passes by. With so many wonderful things to see and cherish the Perahera is a time when the whole of Sri-Lanka come together to celebrate its foremost holiday.



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