Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It’s set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. Kandy is one of the most sacred places of worship for the Buddhists due to The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) which is situated here in the heart of the city and on the banks of the Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake).

The festival of the Tooth

Kandy celebrates one of its kind of festival in the month of July/August each year during the full moon dates known as the Kandy Esala Perahera or The Festival of the Tooth, is a grand festival celebrated with elegant costumes followed by a historical procession to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.

The procession consists of many traditional local dances such as fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandyan dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants in the procession are adorned with luxurious garments and the festival ends with the traditional diya-kepeema ritual, a water cutting ceremony which is held at the Mahaweli River in Kandy.

The month of Esala (July/August), during which period this annual pageant is usually held, had been considered a month of celebrations and festivity, both among Indians and Sri Lankans. Even from the lifetime of Lord Buddha in the 6th century BC, the Esala festival was held to commemorate Lord Buddha’s Conception, his Renunciation and the First Sermon. Esala is also considered to be the beginning of the raining season (Vassana) when the monks commence their Retreat. Also, this month is considered to be the period when ritual performances to the protective divinities are held, (e.g. Paththini puja) as recorded in the text ‘Paththini-Halla’.  Being considered a ‘chaste’ month, the period is held sacred for the availability of water.
Major attractions
-The Temple of the Tooth Relic which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
– Peradeniya Botanical Gardens.

Lion Rock Fortress: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri, in Sri Lanka, is famous for the ancient Lion Rock Fortress which has historical and archeological significance.

King Kashyapa selected this site as his capital and constructed his Royal Palace on the top of this rock which is approx. 200 metres above the ground and decorated its sides with colourful frescos. After his death, the Royal Palace was abandoned and was used as a Buddhist Monastery.

The Fortress is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.