Sri Dalada Maligawa - The Temple of the Sacred Tooth


Sri Dalada Maligawa is a really lovely Buddhist temple in the centre of Kandy in Sri Lanka. It contains the relic of the sacred tooth of the Buddha.

In 543BCE, when the Buddha's body was cremated, Khema, one of the Buddha's two main disciples, retrieved one of the Buddha's teeth from the ashes of the sandalwood pyre. Khema passed the sacred tooth to King Brahmadatte and it has remained a highly revered representation of the Buddha ever since.

The temple, which now houses the sacred relic, is a haven of peace and tranquility. Visitors climb steps before entering the main temple courtyard through a beautifully decorated corridor. Sunlight illuminates the corridor towards the end of the day, making the interior glow with golden light.

Ascending a further flight of stairs leads visitors to the shrine of the relic. Devotees make offerings, sit, meditate and pray. It's very low key, without fuss or flamboyance. Often, whole families will arrive together, all dressed in white.

I've enjoyed two days in Kandy before continuing my assignment documenting the Sri Lankan railway and seem to have spent more time inside the temple than anywhere else.