Sacred temple of the tooth

October 17, 2018   |   Dinesh Perera
The crown jewels of the Sri Lankan tribe

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 of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the 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 Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site, mainly due to the temple Architecture.

The brick wall which runs along the moat and Bogambara lake is known as water waves wall. Holes in this wall are built to light coconut oil lamps. The main entrance gate which lies over the moat is called Maha-wahalkada. At the foot of Maha-wahalkada steps there is a Sandakada pahana (moonstone) which is carved in Kandyan architectural style. Maha-wahalkada was totally destroyed in a 1998 bomb blast and rebuilt afterwards along with sandakada pahana other stone carvings. Elephants are depicted in stone on the either sides of the entrance. A Makara Torana and two guardian stones are placed on top of the staircase.

Royal Palace

The royal palace is situated to the north of the temple. The royal palace is 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 is said to be the oldest. During the beginning of the British period, it was used by government agent Sir John D'Oyly, 1st Baronet, of Kandy.. Today it is preserved as an archeological museum.

Audience hall

The audience hall or magul maduwa is where the Kandyan kings held their court.It was completed during the reign of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The carvings of the wooden pillars which support the wooden roof are an example of wood carving of the Kandyan period. Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha of Kandy built it in 1783. The hall was renovated for the reception of arrival of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales in 1872. Originally the hall was 58 by 35.6 feet (17.7 m × 10.9 m); after renovation, its length was extended by an additional 31.6 feet (9.6 m). Today it is used for state ceremonies and conserved under the department of archaeology.

Mahamaluwa

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 is another attraction. The statue of Princess Hemamali and Prince Dantha are also located here. On Wednesdays you can witness the Nanumura Mangalaya, where the sacred tooth is said to be washed in a sacred ceremony.

Tevava’ would mean a service ritual conducted daily at regular times of the day in the morning, noon and evening. It is similar to a Buddha-puja usually conducted in an image shrine. At the Dalada Maligawa, this happens twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening.

 

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