Perahera Festival at Kandy, Sri Lanka

Ok, it has been too long I haven’t wrote anything in this blog! The weather is so bad here in Jakarta, got a flu but now I am feeling better. I hope you take care of yourself as well!

Anyway, in this gloomy day, I remember about my trip to Kandy, Sri Lanka. The second big city in Sri Lanka after Colombo. During my 10 days trip to Sri Lanka, I came up to visit Kandy twice. First when I need to take a train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, the hills of tea plantation. The second time is when I need to go back to Kandy to see a special annual festival there. It wasn’t merely a normal festival, but it’s huge! It called Esala Perahera. I was lucky because when I was there, the festival just started to begin. So, one day before my flight back to Jakarta, I decided to visit Kandy again. It was ok, even seems so in hurry, but I might not able to come to Sri Lanka again in some time. Better now than never – that’s always my motto.

Perahera-Kandy (1)In Kandy train station – look at that time! I made a wish just for fun 😉

Kandy located in Central Sri Lanka. It’s the home of the Temple of Tooth Relic – where the festival held. It’s one of the most sacred places to worship for Buddhist people. The tooth relic played important rule in Sri Lanka, it was believed those who posses the relic, holds the governance in the country. The temple itself founded in 1595, damaged from bombing in various time, but now fully recover and beautiful. Declared as UNESCO Heritage Site in 1988.

The first time I visit Kandy, I came from Dambulla, after seeing the cave temple. It took around 1-2 hours by bus to go to Kandy. I arrived in evening time and need to find a way to Kandy City Hostel from the bus stop. In the bus, I talked with a man who later showed me the way to train station – because I need to find the schedule to go to Nuwara Eliya. The decision to let him accompanied me to train station and the hostel was a mistake. Especially, because I let him know about my local number. Yes, 10 days in one’s country, make me thought it’s better to have a local number. After the meeting, he always tried to call me and meet me in the train station the next morning, even jump in the same train. Which made me so freak out, because I am worry he following me to Nuwara Eliya! Glad he finally realized that I feel annoying by his behavior. He stopped somewhere and disappeared.

Perahera-Kandy (18)

Kandy City Hostel is a nice place to stay. Even the location about far from the lake and more to the hills. It was low season for business, so I got one full room for myself. Such a queen in 8 bed bunkers. The owner is a couple from Finland. Once I arrived, they just want to open a white wine, so I drink together with them. Hehehe, nice welcome drink! They had one nice dog who finally following me around and accompanied me to the rooftop where I can sit nicely and relaxing. No one stayed in the hostel, except me and another one male guest. Kandy was so quiet in the evening.

Perahera-Kandy (19)Me with the dog.

Perahera-Kandy (20)Later on, he just waited for me nicely when I sit relaxing.

I paid 1970 LKR for one night (USD 15), I got the wifi, clean bathroom, whole room (in my case), clean sheet for my pillow and bed, simple breakfast (bread & fruit jam), coffee and tea – all you want. It was a nice bargain. To know more, you can visit their website here :

Perahera-Kandy (21) Perahera-Kandy (23) Perahera-Kandy (22)

Bring your own coffee. My suggestion.

In the second time visit Kandy for the festival, I only stayed for a while in my friend’s villa. It was a nice villa located in beautiful area, but the way to go there is quiet difficult, because the tuk-tuk driver didn’t know the location so we got lost. It called The Green Villa, located in Block No. 44, Paradise Park, Thapodarama Road, Hanthana, Kandy. If you are looking for a hommy place in quiet and beautiful area, this place is a good choice. It cost around USD 50 with loads of breakfast, nice and clean room and friendly staff who able to help you when you need help about transportation to go around Kandy.

Perahera-Kandy (2) Perahera-Kandy (3)The view on our way to Green Villa.

Perahera-Kandy (24)Green Villa Living Room.

Perahera-Kandy (25)Me with these girls. We wanna see the Perahera together 🙂

When the evening came, we go down the hills and go to the temple. It was lots of people already on the street. Many of them waited from the morning to see the Festival and try to find the best spot to sit to watched. So many police also in the roads, you need to really see your friends to not get lost in the crowded.

Perahera-Kandy (5) Perahera-Kandy (4)

Many people to get ready for the Festival.

One thing to remember, the festival held in 10 days – around July or August. You need to wear modest outfit to enter the temple. No sexy clothes or ones which show your arms or short pants. Why people wanted to sit from early morning and find good spot for them? Because you can buy a ticket to see the festival, usually from the cafe close to the temple for such expensive price (around 6000 LKR)! Lucky us for able to enter the temple and can sit inside to see the festival because the help from a friend.

Perahera-Kandy (6)We were so lucky to be able enjoying the Festival from here!

Perahera-Kandy (7) Perahera-Kandy (8)The temple looked so colorful and stunning..

Perahera-Kandy (9) Perahera-Kandy (10) People preparing the elephant for Festival.

The Festival itself took time around 2-3 hours. So many people joining the performance. Many dancer, people who bring the flags, elephant.. lots of elephants in beautiful and shinning wardrobe. Once the sacred elephant comes bring the tooth relic, all the audience will stand up to give respect to Buddha. In old tradition, the festival believed has 2 separate but connected procession (perahera) as Esala and Dalada. Esala held because the ritual for asking a rainfall while Dalada is believed begun when the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha brought from India during 4th century to Sri Lanka, eight hundred years after the passing away of Lord Buddha (wikipedia).

Perahera-Kandy (26)My friend told me, those people who bring this flags used to be prisoners or very bad people but now turn to be good people.

Perahera-Kandy (27)The dancer, showing their best performance.

Perahera-Kandy (11)It is indeed so cool, isn’t it?

In modern tradition, the festival made to let the public able to worship the Tooth Relic, since it was previously considered as private property of the King and public never got a chance to worship it. That’s why people of Sri Lanka so full of joy when they able to see the Tooth Relic brought by the Elephant.

Perahera-Kandy (13)Ok, this is the only white guy I saw that handle the elephant in this festival.

Perahera-Kandy (12)The elephant who carrying the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.

Perahera-Kandy (15) Perahera-Kandy (14)

It was my first colorful festival. Very grand, elegant and so many dancers with beautiful music they sing. In fact, it was my first festival ever to attended. I was so excited and glad that I could see it. If you want to know more about the festival, this website hope can helps you :

Perahera-Kandy (16) Perahera-Kandy (28)The crowd after Festival finished.

Look at my happy face! Tired but happy 🙂

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow…” – Anita Desai

Perahera-Kandy (17)

Dea Sihotang



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