Esala Perahera Festival

The spectacular festival of Esala Perahera takes place over a 10 day period in either July or August (Esala). The festival dates back to the 3rd century BC and is celebrated to honour both the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic, which is kept in Kandy's famous Temple of the Tooth. The term ‘perahera' refers to a procession of musicians, drummers, dancers and singers accompanied by a large number of elephants, some of whom are tuskers. The pageant that can be seen today in Kandy includes all of these ingredients with up to a hundred elephants, dressed in colourful costumes, and up to thousand artistes - talented in dancing, drum beating, fireball dancing, whip-cracking - taking to the streets. What starts off as ‘simple procession ' on day one of the festival, with teams of well-trained elephants and fire wielding dancers parading the through the crammed streets of Kandy, culminates in a five hour feast of ‘orchestrated mayhem' on the final night! If you are travelling to Sri Lanka in July or August please ask how we can include a night at the Esala Perahera in your itinerary.

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