Esala Perehara is a grand festival in Sri Lankan culture held in August in Kandy , Sri Lanka. It’s a Buddist Festival consisting of dances and colorfully decorated elephants. It has become a unique symbol if Sri Lanka. There are various styles dancers in this. The festival is end up with the traditional event of Diya Kapeema ( Water Cutting ) which is held at the Mahaweli River at Gatambe , Kandy.
The Esala perahara is believed to have begun when the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from India by Princes Hemamala & Prince Dantha during the 4th century CE , eight hundred years after the passing away of Lord Buddha. By that time , Kandy Region was governed by King Kirthi Sri Megawarna.
Easala Perhara was began in 310 CE , during the region of King Kithsiri Mewan. & it was the first Perahara in Sri Lankan history. In that time, Perahara was held with the royal sponsor and had separate expenses from Royal Treasury for perahara Events.
Modern Esala Perahara
During the region of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe , Sacred Tooth Relic was a Royal property and nobody was allowed to worship it. But after the Kandyan Kingdome was fell to the British in 1815 , Tooth Relic was handed over to Maha Sanga. Finally , a special person was appointed as a Administrator for held all the customs of Tooth Relic , called as “ Diyawadana Nilame”. From that time , Perahara was consisted with many events and was colorful.
Things to See
Esala Perahara is consisting with colorful dancers. Specially, Kandyan Dancers. And also, fire dancers, whip dancers, drum dancers etc. it shows the culture of Sri Lanka. There are many elephant’s dressed colorful cloths with lights. It’s really wonderful scene. But royal elephant which carry the Golden Cover of Tooth Relic, is more colorful and awesome.
Except the perahara , there are so many boutiques which sell so many things as Foods , Cloths , Souvenirs , Leather Items , Toys , Cloths etc. and also there are carnivals around the Kany Town in Perahara Season.