Sri Lanka’s most revered temple and the No.1 attraction in Kandy, the Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth Relic, as the name suggests, houses a tooth of Lord Buddha.
Kept in a casket, the tooth is believed to have been picked up from the pyre of Lord Buddha and then brought to Sri Lanka by a princess who smuggled the tooth out in her hair.
Generally hidden from view, the casket can be seen during a ‘Thevava’ or special Pooja ritual performed by monks and temple officials. The Thevava is held from 5.30-7 am, 9.30-11 am, and 6.30-8 pm.
I had already taken a tour and offered my respects at the temple when drummers entered, cordoned off an area on the ground floor and began playing on drums. This was to mark the beginning of the evening Thevava. They continued to play during the entire duration that visitors are permitted to view the casket on the first floor.
So, if you visit and the drums are playing, it’s a good thing. Make your way to the first floor and join the locals as they offer delicate lotus flowers and incense to their Lord. Just don’t try to take a picture of the casket – it’s not permitted.