Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple.
Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple.Rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evening. On Wednesdays there is a symbolic bathing of the Sacred Relic with an 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.
An Evergreen Rain Forest in the heart of a town! And that too, in one of the largest and the busiest towns in the country!! It certainly is hard to believe. But, this indeed is a reality. In the midst of the town of Kandy itself, is the Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Bordering The Dalada Maligawa on one side is this Udawatthakele Rainforest. The contrast, of the hustle and bustle of this large town and the peace and serenity of this forest, is unbelievable.
In the ancient times the entire Kandy area has been covered with the rainforest vegetation. After the establishment of a small settlement in the 2 nd century AD, King Wickramabahu who had his Kingdom in ‘Gangasiripura’ (Gampola) built his castle in the Rainforest in 1371and named it “Udawasalawatta”. The members of the Royal Family used this beautiful and serene forest to past their leisure and the pond in this forest for bathing. An important feature in this forest is the rock cave which gave cause to the Sinhala name “Senkadagala” to Kandy . In this cave, it is believed, lived a hermit named Senkada who has helped the King in a certain way and the King named this area, in his honour as Senkadagala. Kodimale peak where, the National and Religious flags were supposed to been hoisted during ancient times, the giant endemic liana called “Pus Wela” which is about 300 hundred years old and the beautiful pond around which is a footpath famous among lovers of the area are other important features in this forest.
There are several different types of traditional dance. These include Kandyan dances, Sabaragamuwa dances, low-country dances, devil dances, and several others. Kandyan dances are probably the most important of the various Sri Lankan traditional dances. It is generally regarded as the national dance form. Kandyan dances evolved in the Kandy Kingdom. This was the kingdom in the interior of Sri Lanka that proved most resilient against the Europeans. Many of the dances depict stories associated with the Kandy kings, queens, princes and heroes.
The dance style probably is a good representation of dances in Kandy. Kandy costumes can be very impressive. Male dance costumes can include spectacular headwear. Bare chests are decorated with intricate silver regalia. There are also silver bangles on arms and anklets. The dances are set to drum rhythms. The dance itself is highly ritualistic. In devil dances, the dances are performed by the artists who wear different kind of masks and it also used as a treatment for diseases caused by “Unseen Hands”. Many of these dances are performed in solo and also group performances.