Kandy Esala Perahera Pageant 2024

The Kandy Esala Perahera Festival 2024 is an event of unparalleled cultural significance. Steeped in tradition and grandeur, this annual procession is a sight to behold. Mark your calendars and immerse yourself in the beauty of Sri Lankan culture and spirituality. Here are the scheduled dates for this remarkable festival:

Kandy Esala Perahera Festival 2024

1. The 1st Kumbal Perahera – August 10th, 2024

Kickstarting the festivities, the 1st Kumbal Perahera on August 10th is a magnificent display of devotion and artistry. Be prepared to witness a spectacular parade of elephants adorned with vibrant costumes, traditional dancers, and musicians.

2. The 2nd Kumbal Perahera – August 11th, 2024

On August 11th, the 2nd Kumbal Perahera takes the stage. This procession builds upon the grandeur of the first, with even more elaborate decorations and performances.

3. The 3rd Kumbal Perahera – August 12th, 2024

Continuing the tradition on August 12th, the 3rd Kumbal Perahera showcases the rich heritage of Kandy, with each element of the parade telling a story of its own.

4. The 4th Kumbal Perahera – August 13th, 2024

The splendor of the 4th Kumbal Perahera on August 13th is truly awe-inspiring. The vibrant colors, rhythmic beats, and the spiritual atmosphere make this a must-see event.

5. The 5th Kumbal Perahera – August 14th, 2024

The 5th Kumbal Perahera on August 14th continues the festivities, drawing you deeper into the heart of Sri Lankan culture.

6. The 1st Randoli Perahera – August 15th, 2024

On August 15th, the 1st Randoli Perahera takes center stage. Experience the magic as the procession weaves through the streets of Kandy, carrying with it a sense of mystique.

7. The 2nd Randoli Perahera – August 16th, 2024

The 2nd Randoli Perahera on August 16th is a testament to the enduring traditions and spirituality of Kandy.

8. The 3rd Randoli Perahera – August 17th, 2024

As the festival progresses, the 3rd Randoli Perahera on August 17th brings you closer to the heart of this cultural extravaganza.

9. The 4th Randoli Perahera – August 18th, 2024

August 18th marks the date of the 4th Randoli Perahera, offering a profound experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

10. The Final Randoli Perahera (The Grand Randoli Procession) – August 19th, 2024

The grand finale of the Kandy Esala Perahera Festival, the Final Randoli Perahera on August 19th, is a culmination of all that you have witnessed so far. The procession reaches its zenith, leaving you in awe of the spiritual and cultural heritage of Kandy.

11. Diya Kapeema (The Water Cutting Ceremony) – August 20th, 2024

On August 20th, the Diya Kapeema, or the Water Cutting Ceremony, provides a serene and spiritual conclusion to the festival. It is a time for reflection and appreciation of the rituals that have taken place.

Make sure not to miss the Dahawal Perahera (The Day Procession) on August 20th, which adds an exclamation point to this extraordinary cultural experience.

Exploring the Rich Heritage of Kandy Esala Perahera

The History of Kandy Esala Perahera is a mesmerizing tale that weaves together the traditions, culture, and spirituality of Sri Lanka. This grand festival, a celebration of immense significance, paints a vivid picture of devotion, grandeur, and the beauty of Sinhalese culture. Join us as we journey through the captivating chapters of this extraordinary event.

Origins of the Perahera Pageant

The roots of the Kandy Esala Perahera can be traced back to Emperor Asoka of India, during which the concept of perahara pageants gained prominence. This tradition, now synonymous with Kandy, showcases a harmonious blend of Buddhist and Hindu religious customs. These pageants are a vibrant testament to the rich cultural tapestry of Sri Lanka.

Embracing Sinhalese Culture

The Kandy Esala Perahera is a vibrant canvas on which the colours of Sinhalese culture come to life. Most of its customs are derived from the “Dantha Dhathu Charitha” or “Dalada Siritha,” a book that delves into the traditions associated with the sacred Tooth Relic. This invaluable text was penned during the rule of Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326) in Kurunagala, providing a blueprint for the perahara pageant.

The “Dalada Siritha” prescribes 38 statutes that must be followed during the pageant. The rituals include cleaning the Shrine Room of the Sacred Tooth Relic at an auspicious hour, adorning canopies with silk clothes, and offerings rice, flowers, and oil lamps by the King’s team of ministers and the city’s general public. The city itself is transformed into a heavenly spectacle on the seventh day evening, culminating in the procession of the Sacred Relic, led by the chief priests of the Uttara Mula Sect and personnel of two castes, Ganavesi and Kilin.

Continuing Traditions

Remarkably, these ancient rites continue to be faithfully performed to this day. The Kandy Esala Perahera remains a testament to the enduring commitment of the Sinhalese people to their rich heritage.

Kumbal Perahera – Banishing Evil

The Kandy Esala Perahera commences with the Kumbal Perahera, a procession steeped in tradition. Its primary purpose is to protect infants from evil spells and ill will. This five-day parade through the streets of Kandy is a visual spectacle, although it is considered an unfinished or semi-procession. Notably, the Nilames do not participate in this leg of the event, while the Drummers and Tuskers take part without their ceremonial attire.

Randoli Perahera – A Royal Tradition

The Randoli Perahera, an integral part of the Sacred Tooth Relic procession, also spans five days. In the days of the Kings, the Chief Queens paraded in this procession in palanquins. However, their participation was deemed inappropriate, leading to the exclusion of queens. Nonetheless, a palanquin is included as an honorary gesture to the Queen in the modern procession. The four Devalas contribute by carrying their own decorated palanquins, enhancing the overall grandeur of the event.

Maha Randoli Perahera – The Grand Finale

The Maha Randoli Perahera is the grandest and final procession of the festival. This spectacle is a sight, with Tuskers adorned in garlands and opulent gold-stitched costumes. The drummers take centre stage, donning elaborate ceremonial attire. The Diyawadana Nilame adds a touch of novelty to the procession with a newly stitched outfit, making it the pinnacle of the event.

The Modern Perahera

The Modern Perahera, as we know it today, traces its origins back to King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 – 1781 AD) of the Kandyan Kingdom. During his reign, the Tooth Relic was opened to the public, allowing all to witness and venerate this sacred Relic. After the British takeover in 1815, the custodianship of the Relic was passed over to the Buddhist Clergy, and the Diyawadana Nilame was appointed to handle administrative matters in the absence of the King.

A Legacy of Blessings

The Kandy Esala Perahera commences with the Kap Situveema or Kappa. During this symbolic ceremony, a sanctified young Jackfruit tree is cut and planted in the beliefs of the four Devales dedicated to the guardian gods Natha, Vishnu, Katharagama, and the goddess Pattini. This tradition symbolizes the bestowal of blessings upon the King and the people.

As the grandeur of the Kandy Esala Perahera unfolds, we are reminded of the beauty and splendour of Sri Lankan culture. This spectacle continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of all who witness it.

Places to Visit in Kandy during Day Time

Kandy, a city nestled amidst the lush green hills of Sri Lanka’s Central Province, is a treasure trove of cultural and natural wonders. Known as the country’s cultural capital, Kandy offers a rich tapestry of history, spirituality, and natural beauty. While the city comes alive during the night-time Esala Perahera festival, there are several enchanting places to explore during the day. Discover the top attractions that Kandy offers during the daylight hours.

Places to Stay During Kandy Esala Perahera Time

Kandy Esala Perahera is a grand cultural festival in Kandy, Sri Lanka, from 21st August to 31st August 2023. This vibrant procession showcases traditional dancers, drummers, beautifully adorned elephants, and captivating performances. If you’re planning to witness this spectacular event, finding the perfect accommodation that offers comfort and convenience is essential. 

Things to Do During Day Time When Perahera is at Night Time

While the Kandy Esala Perahera festival in Sri Lanka mesmerizes visitors with its vibrant night-time procession, there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy during the day in Kandy. Here are some suggestions for things to do when the Perahera takes place at night:

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