Kandy’s pride and prestige, the Temple of the Tooth – Sri Dalada Maligawa is the city’s most sacred and vital attraction. Its significance reflects to the legacy of the tooth relic of Lord Buddha being encased in a golden chest. The Tooth Relic was brought to Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD and was kept in various temples across the island and eventually kept at this Temple of the Tooth. It was built in the 1600s but renovations, additions and enhancements have been done until the Kingdom of Kandy fell to the British in 1815. After the British took over, the custody of the Tooth Relic was palmed over to the Buddhist Clergy. Due to the absence of a ruler, a lay custodian known as the Diyawadana Nilame was chosen to handle administration of the temple.
During recent years, a golden roof was added. Rituals are held daily at different times paying homage to the shrine. The temple sits majestically with its added octagonal pavilion. Classical Kandyan architecture was used in building the whole temple complex. The main shrine consists of two floors. Several chambers have been constructed on each floor, in which one houses the relic of the tooth known as ‘handun kunama’. The chamber has an ivory carved door and the tooth is encased in a golden casket studded with seven gemstones. The massive carved arched entrance has figures of elephants on both sides. Just before the entrance, there is a moonstone on the floor. The moonstone is a half moon of rock carved with lines of animals and intricate designs. The interior of the shrine is adorned with exquisite and stunning paintings and the corridors have low arched ceilings and polished concrete floors.
The Royal Palace is next to the shrine and is now an archaeological museum. The Audience Hall now serves as a chamber for religious ceremonies. Upon seeing the shrine and its interiors, one gets reminiscent of the lives of the ancient times during the reigns of royal kings.
Opening times – 5:30 am – 8:00 pm
Entrance fee for Foreign Nationals is Rs. 1500/- and dress code should be modest with shoulders and knees being covered. Footwear will have to be removed.