The temple of the sacred tooth relic or the Dalada maligawa has to be the greatest Buddhist shrine in Sri lanka. Since Kandy was the capital of ancient Sri lanka from 1592 to 1815, reigned by many great Kings. The temple opened as the heart of the Kandy city. The sacred tooth relic was received to Sri lanka about 16 centuries ago. The other tooth relic is believed to be placed in the Somawthi Dagoba. King Wimladarmasooriya who reigned during 1592- 1603 A.D supposed to build a 2 storied building to place the sacred tooth relic. King Wimaadarmasuriya 2 (1686-1706) made the complex into a 3 storied. Eventually, his son Sri Vira parakrama Narendrasingha who is the last king of Sinhalese, rebuild a new two storied temple. The final king of Sri lanka, Sri Wickrama Rajasingha added the large octagonal shaped ‘Paththiruppuwa’ to the temple and used to address the countrymen. After being a prison hall to the British military academy, now ancient records and manuscripts written in ola leaves are protected in ‘Paththirippuwa’.
Visitors are expected to wear clean white dress covering your shoulders down to the knees. In order to enter the temple go through the ‘Maha vahalkada’. This ‘Vahalakada’ is constituted of two walls. While the inner wall is called as Diyareli bema (wall of water ripples) the outer wall is called ’Walakulu bemma’(wall of clouds). Upon entering you have to pass through the Makara thorana and the tunnel ‘Ambarawa’. Then you will find the ground floor of the temple called ‘Pallemaluwa’. Daily rituals conducted by the drummers are carried out in the ‘Hevisi mandapaya’. A unique feature of the temple is the brightly colored frescoes and carvings.
The sacred tooth relic is kept inside the room called ‘Vedahitina maligaya’. As soon as you enter the upper floor you will find an elaborative door with gold and silver decorations. The tooth relic is encased in seven gold caskets in the chamber. Two pairs of elephant’s tusks are beside the camber. The gorgeous outer casket is embellished with many stones and gold items offered by various kings. The ‘Perahera karnduwa’ (relic chamber) used in the ‘Esala perahera’ is on the right side. So many devotees and pilgrims have worshipped the temple every day. Rather than that the temple of the sacred tooth relic is a place where you can experience the Sri Lankan culture at its best. Though Kandy is a UNESCO world heritage site the Devala located at the opposite of the Dalada maligawa is an edifice made for next Buddha to come to the world. You can see the taxidermied remains of the famous tusker raja which carried the Perahera karanduwa for over 50 years.