Temple of the Tooth Relic: history, description

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Temple of the Tooth Relic: history, description
Temple of the Tooth Relic: history, description

One of the many wonders of the world is the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Lanka). This is a unique place that Buddhists from all over the world aspire to visit. In the great shrine, under numerous guards, the tooth of the Buddha is kept. Despite the fact that the temple is open for visits around the clock, there is always a huge line of people who want to see the Tooth of the Buddha and feel the special spiritual atmosphere. The temple, which houses a Buddhist relic, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988.

Temple of the Tooth Relic: History of the Relic

The acquisition of the relic originates from the legend, according to which, after his death, the Enlightened One bequeathed to burn his body. And in 540 BC it was set on fire. After cremation, four of the Buddha's teeth remained intact in the ashes. They were shipped all over the world. In 371, one Tooth of the Buddha was brought to Ceylon. For several centuries he was in India.

But then the ruler of Kalinga began to suffer defeats in internecine wars from enemies and began to fear for the fate of the state and a priceless relic. He decided to smuggle her to the island with the help of his daughter. The princess was disguised and was no different from ordinary village girls. The Tooth of the Buddha was woven into her hair, and shewent to Ceylon. So, with the help of the princess, the shrine came to Sri Lanka.

buddha tooth temple

What is the power of the Buddha Tooth?

Since the appearance of the Tooth of the Buddha, amazing magical powers have been attributed to this relic. It was believed that the owner of the Tooth becomes the owner of great and complete power. Therefore, the relic instantly ended up in the possession of the royal dynasty. But the royal people also kept and protected the Tooth of the Buddha, respectively, surrounding it not only with protection, but also with we alth.

It was believed that the disappearance of the relic brings the end of belief. Therefore, a separate temple of the Tooth of the Buddha was erected. The Islamists tried to destroy the relic. And in 1998 there was an explosion in the temple. The building was badly damaged, but surprisingly - the Tooth of the Buddha was absolutely not injured and remained unharmed. And this case only emphasizes the holiness and power of this relic.

The Journey of the Relic and Finding a Permanent Storage Location

The City of the Temple of the Tooth Relic - Kandy. But the relic turned out to be there not immediately. The capitals in Ceylon changed several times, but the Tooth of the Buddha did not stay in the same place. He became a symbol of the love of the people and power. And the rulers always carried the relic with them. Thus, the Tooth of the Buddha first ended up in the capital Anuradhapura. Then he was transferred to Polunaruwa. And, finally, he found a permanent place of storage, which became the third royal capital - Kandy.

buddha tooth temple sri lanka

How did the Temple for the Tooth of Buddha come about?

The tooth of the Buddha is kept in Sri Dalada Maligawa. The temple was first built fromtree. But in the eighteenth century it was burned by ill-wishers. Despite this, the relic survived. A royal palace was built on the site of the conflagration. The relic was kept in it under the vigilant supervision of the monarch.

Only a few were allowed to see the Tooth of Buddha - the king and only the closest and most respected monks. When the reign of the last monarch ended, the palace was taken over by the monks. And was renamed the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy.

How is the relic kept?

The Tooth of Buddha is located in a small golden stupa, which is located on the territory of the former royal palace, in one of the buildings that now has the status of a temple. The relic is located in a separate, well-guarded room, in seven caskets, each of which is made in the form of a stupa. All of them are nested in each other like a Russian nesting doll. The room with the relic is constantly guarded by at least two monks. The stupas in which the Tooth of the Buddha is “packed” are protected by bulletproof glass.

buddha tooth temple in kandy

Can you see the Buddha Tooth?

You can only look at the relic from afar, twice a day, at strictly defined hours. And then at this time the Tooth of the Buddha is in the "stack-matryoshka" of golden stupas. And the relic is taken out for viewing only during Esala Perahera, a traditional holiday. And only in a special box.

In the rarest and exceptional cases, when the Tooth of Buddha is still shown up close, it fits into a special golden loop that emerges from the center of the lotus, made of the same precious metal. This presentation is notrandom. The relic was found on a lotus flower.

Description of the temple

Temple of the Tooth Relic - a landmark and pearl of Sri Lanka - a former royal palace, and now a temple of Buddhist monks, which houses a priceless holy relic. The magnificent decoration of the premises has been preserved to this day. The Temple of the Tooth is part of a large complex of palace buildings, occupying a separate one.

At first it was a separate temple. Over time, a second one was erected around - external. It turned out to be a temple within a temple. The outer territory is fenced with a moat with water and two openwork walls: Sea waves and Clouds. These names were given to them due to bizarre and unusual forms that evoke poetic associations. On holidays, small lamps are placed in the openings of the walls, creating a special atmosphere in the evening. Thanks to them, the entire area is illuminated with thousands of lights.

temple of the sacred tooth of the buddha

The complex of palace buildings

The complex of palace buildings includes not only the Temple of the Tooth Relic, but also the Royal Audience Hall, etc. The building of the Royal Palace now houses the National Museum. But pilgrims and tourists come mainly to visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Between it and the Royal Palace is a roof of gold, which was built in 1987. It is located directly above the stupa where the relic is kept.

Many palace rooms are closely connected with the Temple of the Tooth Relic. After passing through the Ambarava Tunnel, visitors enter the lower tier of the temple complex. This is the court of the H. Mandapay Drummers. Heremodest religious rituals are performed every day. And next to the Drummers' Court is the modern Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is built around the old one.

Special attention when visiting the palace complex should be given to the Throne Hall of the Kings of Kandy. Sri Lankan craftsmen really created masterpieces by making furniture. All of it is made of one huge rock. On the walls of the hall there are paintings that tell about the life stages of the Enlightened One, the history of the appearance of the relic and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth of Buddha.

Unusual exhibits can be seen in the halls of the palace. For example, a mummified elephant. This animal is considered sacred, as for many years, during the festivities, the box with the Tooth of Buddha was taken out for viewing. Moreover, the relic left the temple for a while.

buddha tooth temple city

Festive procession in honor of the Tooth of the Buddha: Esala Perahera

Next to the roof there is a Pattirippuwa tower, which has eight corners. It was erected in 1803 and is part of the palace complex. From the tower, the kings addressed speeches to their subjects and watched the festive ceremony of Esala Perahera. This is a multi-day procession that takes place in July or August, during the full moon. A solemn ceremony was held in honor of the Tooth of the Buddha. In modern times, the tower has become a repository of ancient manuscripts.

Esala Perahera is one of the most important Sri Lankan religious holidays associated with the Temple. Dozens of elephants take part in the solemn procession, with bright veils and garlands thrown over them. At the same time, dancers put on a show,acrobats and drummers. All in national costumes, as required by the ritual.

This noisy solemn procession takes place before the removal of the Tooth of the Buddha for all to see. At this time, the relic is in a special gold box. Buddha's tooth is surrounded by flowers and jewels. You can admire the relic for four hours, going up to the temple. Touching the Tooth of the Buddha is strictly prohibited. Therefore, you can only look close.

buddha tooth temple dress code

Sights inside the Temple of the Tooth Relic

Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Lanka) has many interior halls. Their decoration is striking in its beauty. The decoration is made with precious stones. The inlay is made with emeralds, rubies, ivory and silver.

There is a separate room in which the library is located. In other rooms there are numerous ancient Buddha statues. Moreover, they are made and decorated from different materials: gold, jade, quartz and other semi-precious stones. There are more than a thousand statues and small statues of Buddha in the whole temple, and in different poses.

Temple of the Tooth Relic: dress code and extras

Due to repeated attempts to undermine the Temple of the Tooth Relic and destroy the relic, the premises are constantly under vigilant guard. And at the entrance people are carefully felt. Men and women are in different rooms. To get as close as possible to the relic, at the entrance you can take special flowers that are intended for offering.

You can lay plants on the secondfloor of the temple, you need to get in line. During its movement, flowers are placed in the window, past which people pass. Another hall is visible from it, in which the relic is located under the golden dome.

Visit to the temple is paid. But the price also includes a disc with a pre-recorded sightseeing tour, which you can watch repeatedly when you return home. At the box office there is a service - an audio guide. It contains complete information about the structure of the temple, its decoration and all exhibits.

Temple of the Tooth Relic is active, so the dress code is strictly observed. Shoes must be handed over before entering. You can use the services of luggage storage. Or save money by taking off your shoes right at the entrance, as many locals do. But in this case, no one guarantees the safety of boots and sandals. Before entering the temple, not only women, but also men are required to cover their shoulders and knees.

buddha tooth temple tourist attraction

How to get to the Temple of the Tooth Relic?

Many, coming to Sri Lanka, first of all want to visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. How to get to this place? It is possible by car. The temple is located in Kandy. Therefore, you need to go along the A1 highway from Colombo. "A1" just connects the capital of Sri Lanka with Kandy. Approximate travel time is three hours. This method is most suitable for those who wish to see other sights along the way. For example, the Royal Botanical Gardens, located in Peradeniya.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic can be reached by bus. Since Kandy is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka, manyroutes to all major cities - Colombo, Galle, Negombo, etc. By bus, the travel time is the same - about three hours. The difference is only in the level of comfort of the trip and the cost of travel. Buses to Kandy stop at the Central Station, which is located next to the railway station. From it to the Temple of the Tooth Relic - just ten minutes on foot. You need to go towards the lake. But you can take a tuk-tuk.

But the fastest and most economical way to get to the Temple of the Tooth Relic is by train. The train leaves from the railway station Colombo Fort. And stops at the Central in Kandy. The ticket price depends on the class of the carriage. Travel time is four hours. On the way, you can admire amazingly beautiful natural landscapes.

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