FEBRUARY 10, 2012
The Sacred Tooth Relic Temple or Dalada Maligawa is a monumental architectural heritage of not just Kandy but the whole of Sri Lanka. This edifice was constructed to house the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha which was brought in to the country in a princess’s hair.
It is considered the holiest place for many Buddhists not just in Sri Lanka but by believers across the globe. The Relic Tooth was brought to Kandy by King Wimaladharmasuriya I who took it out of Delgamuwa in Sabaragamuwa, remains of which do not exist anymore.
Subsequent rulers either added something to the temple or constructed a new one to replace the decaying old structure, but it was the last Sri Lankan king Wickrama Rajasinghe, who built the Octagon or Pattirippuwa. Although the Octagon was an integral portion of Royal palace of Kandy, it now is a portion of Relic Temple.
The temple’s entrance is through Maha Vahalkada comprising two walls of the Vahalkada. This external design of the wall is common with the Walakulu Bamma or ‘Wall of Clouds’ around Kandy Lake. Diyareli Bamma, literally meaning ‘Wall of Water Ripples’, forms the inner wall. Incidentally, both walls, like the wall of clouds around Kandy Lake, have triangular holes in them for lighting oil lanterns at night.
During the Kandy festival when the tooth is on display to the public, it is kept in a bullet proof glass display, which was donated for this purpose by India. The golden casket containing the tooth was carried for more than fifty years, by the same tusker named Raja. The Sri lankan government declared Raja as national treasure, becoming only the second tusker to achieve this.
The relic tooth itself is stored in the upper temple floor chamber termed ‘Vadahitina Maligawa’. Beyond the ivory, silver and gold covered door, the tooth is within seven golden caskets, all garnered with expensive gemstones which were offered by many kings to the sacred tooth.
Minolma Fenandiz is a writing articles, script, stories for newspapers magazines. Professional blogger and author of "Sri Lanka Gude Book". Join me on Google+