Temple of the Tooth
Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in the city of Kandy
Kandy is a city in the center of Sri Lanka. It was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka; it is both an...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. 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
Sinhalese people
The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group,forming the majority of Sri Lanka,constituting 74% of the Sri Lankan population.They number approximately 15 million worldwide.The Sinhalese identity is based on language, heritage and religion. The Sinhalese speak Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language and the...

 and is a UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 world heritage site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 partly due to the temple.

A Bhikkhu or Bhikṣu is an ordained male Buddhist monastic. A female monastic is called a Bhikkhuni Nepali: ). The life of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis is governed by a set of rules called the patimokkha within the vinaya's framework of monastic discipline...

 of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya
Asgiriya is a village in Sri Lanka. It is located within Central Province.-External links:*...

 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 fragrant flowers, called Nanumura Mangallaya. This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among those present.

The temple sustained damage from bombings at various times but was fully restored each time.


After the parinirvana of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, the tooth relic
Relic of the tooth of the Buddha
The Sacred Relic of the tooth of Buddha is venerated in Sri Lanka as a relic of the founder of Buddhism.-The relic in India:...

 was preserved in Kalinga
Kalinga (India)
Kalinga was an early state in central-eastern India, which comprised most of the modern state of Orissa/Utkal , as well as the Andhra region of the bordering state of Andhra Pradesh. It was a rich and fertile land that extended from the river Damodar/Ganges to Godavari and from Bay of Bengal to...

 and smuggled to the island by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha on the instructions of her father King Guhasiva. They landed in the island in Lankapattana during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic. The king enshrined it Meghagiri Vihara (present day Isurumuniya
Isurumuniya is a Buddhist temple situated near to the Tisawewa .-History:The temple was built by King DEVANAMPIYATHISSA who ruled in the ancient Sri Lankan capital of Anuradhapura. After 500 children of high-caste were ordained, Isurumuniya was built for them to reside...

) in Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura, , is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization.The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic...

. Safeguard of the relic was a responsibility of the monarch, therefore over the years the custodianship of relic became to symbolize the right to rule. Therefore reigning monarchs built the tooth relic temples quite close to their royal residences, as was the case during the times of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura Kingdom
The Anuradhapura Kingdom , named for its capital city, was the first established kingdom in ancient Sri Lanka. Founded by King Pandukabhaya in 377 BC, the kingdom's authority extended throughout the country, although several independent areas emerged from time to time, which grew more numerous...

, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya
Kingdom of Dambadeniya
-Founding:Four kings ruled from here. They were,# Vijayabahu III # Parakramabahu II # Vijayabahu IV # Bhuvanekabahu I The first king to choose Dambadeniya as his capital was Vijayabahu III...

, Yapahuwa and Kurunegala kingdoms. During the era of Kingdom of Gampola the relic was housed in Niyamgampaya Vihara. It is reported in the messenger poems such as Hamsa
Hamsa-Sandesha or "The message of the Swan" is a Sanskrit love poem written by Vedanta Desika in the 13th century AD. A short lyric poem of 110 verses, it describes how Rama, hero of the Ramayana epic, sends a message via a swan to his beloved wife, Sita, who has been abducted by the demon king...

, Gira, and Selalihini that the temple of tooth relic was situated within the city of Kotte when the kingdom
Kingdom of Kotte
The Kingdom of Kotte , centred on Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte was a kingdom that flourished in Sri Lanka during the 15th century. Its king was the last native sovereign to unify all of Sri Lanka under one rule. -Etymology:The term Kotte means fortress in Sinhalese...

 was established there.
During the reign of King Dharmapala
In Vajrayana Buddhism, a dharmapāla is a type of wrathful deity. The name means "Dharma-defender" in Sanskrit, and the dharmapālas are also known as the Defenders of the Law , or the Protectors of the Law, in English....

, the relic kept hidden in Delgamuwa Vihara, Ratnapura
- Floods :The town of Ratnapura is situated in the flooding plain of the river Kalu. The town experiences regular floods usually in the month of May. There is no large dam across the Kalu, so this leaves the city at the mercy of nature's forces every year. Several proposals have been made to reduce...

 in a grinding stone. It was brought to Kandy by Hiripitiye Diyawadana Rala and Devanagala Rathnalankara Thera. King Vimaladharmasuriya I built a two storey building to deposit the tooth relic and the building is now gone. In 1603 when the Portuguese
Portuguese period in Ceylon
Portuguese Ceylon was a Portuguese territory in present-day Sri Lanka, representing a period in Sri Lankan history from 1505–1658. The Portuguese first encountered the Ceylonese kingdom of Kotte, with whom they signed a treaty. Portuguese Ceylon was established through the occupation of Kotte and...

 invaded Kandy, it was carried to Meda Mahanuwara in Dumbara. It was recovered in the time of Râjasimha II and it has been reported that he reinstate the original building or has built a new temple. The present day temple of the tooth was built by Vira Narendra Sinha
Vira Narendra Sinha of Sri Lanka
Vira Parakrama Narendra Sinha was the last Sinhalese King of Sri Lanka of the Kingdom of Kandy. The son of Vimaladharmasurya II, he came to the throne when he was seventeen years old and reigned for 32 years....

. The octagonal Patthirippuwa and moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

 was added during the reign of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. Famous Kandyan architect Devandra Mulacharin is credited with building the Patthirippuwa. Originally it was used by the kings for recreational activities and later it was offered to the tooth relic. Now it is an oriental library. Although it was heavily damaged in the 1998 terrorist attack it has restored to its previous state.


The brick wall which runs along the moat and Bogambara lake is known as water waves wall. Holes in this wall are build to light coconut oil lamps. The main entrance gates which lies over the moat is called Mahawahalkada. At the foot of Mahawahalkada steps there is a Sandakada pahana
Sandakada pahana
Sandakada pahana, also known as Moonstone, is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances. First seen in the latter stage of the Anuradhapura period, the sandakada...

 which is carved in Kandyan architectural style. Mahawahalkada was totally destroyed in a 1998 bomb blast and rebuilt afterwards along with sandakada pahana other stone carving
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

s. Elephants are depicted in stone on the either sides of the entrance. A Makara
Makara (Hindu mythology)
Makara is a sea-creature in Hindu mythology. It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal and in hind part as aquatic animal, in the tail part, as a fish tail or also as seal...

For the Australian car, see Holden Torana.A torana is a type of gateway seen in the Hindu and Buddhist architecture of the Indian subcontinent.-Meaning and uses of torana:...

 and two guardian stones are placed on top of the staircase. Hewisi drummers' chamber is situated in front of the main shrine. The two storeys of main shrine are known as "Palle malaya" (lower floor) and "Udu malaya" (upper floor) or "Weda hitina maligawa". The doors of the Weda Hitana Maligawa are carved in ivory
Ivory carving
Ivory carving is the carving of ivory, that is to say animal tooth or tusk, by using sharp cutting tools, either mechanically or manually. The ancient craft has now virtually ceased, as since CITES it is illegal under most circumstances throughout the world....

. The actual chamber which the tooth relic is kept is known as the "Handun kunama".

The golden canopy built in 1987 over the main shrine and the golden fence which encircles the main shrine are other notable features. The tooth relic is encased in seven golden casket
A casket, or jewelry box is a term for a container that is usually larger than a box, and smaller than a chest, and in the past was typically decorated...

s which engraved with precious gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

s. The caskets have a shape of a stupa
A stupa is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship....

. The Procession casket which is used during the Esala Perahera
Esala Perahera
Esala Perahera is the grand festival of Esala 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 consisting of dances and nicely decorated elephants. There are fire-dances,...

 is also displayed in the same chamber.

Royal Palace

Royal palace situated to the north of the temple. John Pybus, who was on an embassy in 1762, gives a detailed description on the royal palace. Vikramabâhu III (r. 1356-1374) and Senasammatha Vikramabâhu (r. 1469-1511) built royal palaces on this site. Vimaladharmasuriya I undertook various decorations to the palace. The Dutch orientalist Philippus Baldaeus
Philippus Baldaeus
Father Philippus Baldaeus, Baelde or Philip Balde was a Dutch minister. He went to Jaffna, Ceylon with an invading Dutch force during 17th Century. As the first European he documented the life, language and culture of Tamil people, living in the north of the island...

 visited the palace with General Gerard Pietersz. Hulft
Gerard Pietersz. Hulft
Gerard Pietersz. Hulft , was a friendly and intelligent Dutch general. In 1655 he was sent with a fleet to Ceylon and died in action.-Life:...

 in 1656. The royal residence is known as "Maha Wasala" in Sinhala from the Polonnaruwa period. The royal palace also known as "Maligawa." There were three Wahalkadas and a 8 feet (2.4 m) high wall used as main entrances. The section of the palace facing the Natha Devale
Natha Devale, Kandy
The Natha Devale is located on the terrace, in front of the Palace complex of Kandy. It is said to have been in existence even before the Tooth Relic was brought to Kandy.The oldest extant structure in Kandy, it is said to have been built by King Vikramabahu III in the 14th century. The history of...

 is said to be the oldest. During beginning of the British period it was used by Government Agent Sir John D'Oyly
Sir John D'Oyly, 1st Baronet, of Kandy
Sir John D'Oyly, 1st Baronet was a British colonial administrator.D'Oyly had a key role in arranging for the British takeover of the Kandyan kingdom in 1815. Fluent in Sinhala, he was the intermediary between the British Governor and the disaffected Kandyan chiefs who were intriguing to "sell out"...

. Successors of D'Oyly continued it as their official residence. Today it is preserved as an archeological museum. Ulpen Ge and Queens Palace are the associated buildings of the palace.

Audience hall

Audience hall or the Magul maduwa is the where the Kandyan kings held their royal court. It was completed during the reign of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The carvings of the wooden pillars which support the wooden roof is an example of wood carving
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 of the Kandyan period. Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha
Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha of Sri Lanka
Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha was a member of the Madurai royal family and succeeded his brother, Kirti Sri Rajasinha as King of Kandy in 1782.-Sources:*...

  built this in year of 1783. The hall was renovated for the reception of arrival in Kandy of Prince Albert Edward
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

, Prince of Wales in 1872. Originally the hall of the size of 58*35.6 of feet and after the renovation length was extended by additional 31.6 feet. Other nearby building to the halls believed to be demolished during the British rule
British Ceylon
British Ceylon refers to British rule prior to 1948 of the island territory now known as Sri Lanka.-From the Dutch to the British:Before the beginning of the Dutch governance, the island of Ceylon was divided between the Portuguese Empire and the Kingdom of Kandy, who were in the midst of a war for...

. The audience hall was the venue where the Kandyan Convention
Kandyan Convention
The Kandyan Convention was an agreement in 1815 between the British and the Chiefs of the Kandyan Kingdom, in Sri Lanka for the deposition of rule King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The king who was of Telugu ancestry faced powerful opposition from the Sinhalese chieftains who sought to reduce his power...

 was drawn up, it was where the convention was read out to the people and where the conference, about the convention was held on 2 March 1815. That space later used to erect the Kandy Kachcheri and Kandy supreme court after that. Today it is used for state ceremonies and conserved under department of archaeology.


Mahamaluwa is public who came to see the annual Esala perahera. Today it contains a statue of Madduma Bandara. The memorial of which contains the skull of Keppetipola Disawe
Keppetipola Disawe
Rajapaksa Wickramasekera Mudiyanselage Bandaranayake Monarawila Keppetipola , more widely known as Keppetipola Disawe was a Disawe, a high ranking official under the rule of King Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe and later under the British Administration in Sri Lanka...

is another attraction. The statue of Princess Hemamali and Prince Dantha are also located here.

External links

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