Kandy Esala Perahera,
Sri Lanka.s most prominent festival is the magnificent Kandy Esala Perahera, held in the hill capital of Kandy over 10 days in late July to early August and climaxing on Esala Poya. The perahera.s origins date back to the third century BC, but the modern event originated in the mid-18th century when the Kandyan king decreed that once a year the sacred tooth reli vibrant chariot processions, drumming, dancing and acts of self-mortification, held in honour of the war god Skanda.
The Hikkaduwa Beach Festival brings this town to life at the end of July for four days of beach-basc of the Buddha, kept at the Dalada Maligawa, or .Temple of the Tooth., should be displayed in a procession for the people to venerate.
Today, thousands – including many visitors – flock to Kandy during this dazzling ten-day festival, where, under a star-studded moon-filled sky, the streets of the city appear as flowing threads of fire, colour, and stylized motion, mostly created by flaming torches and enrobed and light bulb-encrusted elephants led by the Maligawa Tusker, on whose back is a gold casket containing the relic.
The air is filled with the pulsating throb of a multitude of drums, the ethereal-sounding wail of wind instruments, the wicked crack of whips, even the occasional trumpeting of an elephant. There is quieter participation too, from stilt walkers, acrobats, and the most aesthetically pleasing and traditionally important of all the performers, the dancers.