The land of Sri Lanka is home to many mind-boggling attractions. But irrespective of how fascinating they are, at one point or another, some of us may have felt that touring only them would add to a cliché trip experience. So, if you’re one of those who still yearn to see a lesser-seen side of Sri Lanka on your vacation, we suggest you put the popular Esala Perahera Festival on your itinerary. Even though it’s one of the oldest festivals in Kandy, not many tourists know about it, which means you’re in for a surprise and a totally unique experience!
About Esala Perahera
One of the oldest and biggest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, Esala Perahera is a treat to watch. This historic celebration is held annually to venerate the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha which is rested in Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. During every Esala (July or August), processions take to streets at night for 10 days. The Sinhalese term Perahera literally means a parade of musicians, dancers, drummers, and other performers. So, as part of the parade, well-dressed elephants and tuskers walk along the routes with the tooth relic in a casket. The whole festival comes to an end with a water cutting ceremony at the Mahaweli River in Kandy.
Esala Perahera 2019 Dates
The Esala Perahera Fest in Kandy is celebrated every year in July or August. This year, the tentative dates for the 10-day festival are 5th August to 15th August.
Esala Perahera Entry Ticket
Like most festivals, there is no entry ticket for attending the Kandy Esala Perahera or being a part of the procession. You can heartily walk out and join the hundreds of locals and devotees who walk around in parades at nights during the fest. However, if you wish to witness the festivity from a balcony above, a seat would cost you around INR 1,500 to INR 4,000 depending on the night and the demand.
Most of the processions start with a bang and end with a whipping cannon shot in the air. Some of the peraheras also unite during the 10 days at some point. Here are the major processions that bring the festival to life.
- Maligawa Perahera or Perahera of the Temple Of The Tooth Relic
- Randoli Perahera
- Diya Kepeema and Day Perahera
- Kumbal Perahera
- Devale Perahera
- Fours Devales
- Modern Perahera
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Where To Stay During Esala Perahera
If Esala Perahera 2019 is a part of your Sri Lanka itinerary, there’s no doubt that you would want to see the best of the festival and how it brings the whole city to life. Therefore, choosing the right accommodation would come in really handy during your trip for a better experience.
Kandy surely has no dearth of places to stay, however, there are only certain hotels that offer the best views of both the city and are located in close proximity to the centre where the perahera takes place. Here are a few shortlisted ones for you:
- Hotel Suisse (luxury)
- The Stone House (luxury)
- The Queens Hotel (mid-range)
- Clock Inn (budget)
- Villa 92 (budget)
Tips For Attending Esala Perahera
- While there’s no dress code defined for the festival, it’s best to dress decently when you’re a part of the procession.
- Pick and book your hotel well in advance and quickly since most of the hotels around the centre run out of rooms as the festival nears.
- Reach the route before time. Most of the parades start between 8 and 9 PM, so ensure you grab yourself a place on the pavement before it kicks off.
- If you’re planning to walk along, be prepared to be a part of a huge crowd.
- If a comfortable experience and a viewing gallery is what you’d admire the most to witness the various attractions of the Esala, make sure to reserve yourself a seat well in advance.
- There are also guided tours for the Kandy Festival during the 10 days. If you are more of a history buff and do not wish to miss out any detail, don’t forget to book one for yourself.
- If you wish to visit the Tooth of the Relic Temple, make sure you check the timings and visiting hours for the tourists with the locals and dress appropriately.
- Do not indulge in any sort of arguments with the locals or demean their culture or language.
Esala Perahera in Kandy is surely one of the most venerated festivals in Sri Lanka that set all the streets in the city to fire with lights and vigour. A lot of culturally rich festivities can be witnessing like acrobats, fire dance, kandyan dance, and more. Without a doubt, this fest offers a true glimpse of Kandy’s traditions and lifestyle. So, make sure you do not skip it on your next trip to Sri Lanka with TravelTriangle. After all, an enriching holiday is always better than a cliché trip.
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