Your Essential Guide to Visiting the Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, commonly known as Dalada Maligawa, tops the list of the most famous places in Kandy. This revered site houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. Located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, it is believed that the Dalada Maligawa was built by King Vimaladharmasuriya I in the late 16th century, specifically to house the sacred relic.
Visitors are drawn not only to its religious significance but also to its remarkable architecture and the atmosphere of ongoing devotion and ceremony. It serves as a major attraction and is considered one of the most attractive places in Kandy, drawing thousands of pilgrims and tourists annually.

Things to See at Sri Dalada Maligawa

Sri Dalada Maligawa is not just about the sacred tooth relic; it encompasses various halls and structures, each rich with history and art, making it a comprehensive cultural experience that’s one of the most attractive places in Kandy.

  • Royal Palace: Adjacent to the temple, the palace has been converted into a museum dedicated to the history of Kandy’s monarchy.
  • Golden Canopy: Erected in the 1980s, this glittering addition shelters the main shrine where the tooth relic is kept.
  • Audience Hall: An open pavilion that was used by the Kandyan kings for public audiences, and is now a place where tourists can marvel at traditional Kandyan architecture.
  • Museum of the Temple of the Tooth:Offering insights into the temple’s history through artefacts related to the tooth relic and the temple’s rich history.


Essential Tips for Visiting Sri Dalada Maligawa

To ensure a fulfilling visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, there are a few things every traveller should know:

  • Entrance Fee: A modest entrance fee for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is required, which is used for the upkeep and preservation of this historic site. The fees can vary, so it’s advisable to check the latest rates on the official website or through trusted travel resources before your visit. Keep some cash handy, as digital payments might not be universally accepted at the site.
  • Opening Hours:The opening hours of the Dalada Maligawa are quite specific, typically opening early in the morning and closing in the evening. The temple performs traditional rituals known as ‘Puja’ three times a day—morning, noon, and evening—which are beautiful ceremonies involving offerings and prayers.
  • Attire: Respectful attire is crucial. Visitors should wear clothes that cover their shoulders and knees. It’s advisable to wear a long skirt or trousers and a top with sleeves. You’ll need to remove your shoes before entering the temple premises; carrying a pair of socks can help if you need to walk over the hot ground.
  • Photography: While photography is generally permitted within the temple premises, always look for signs indicating photography restrictions, or ask a temple official if unsure. Using flash is typically frowned upon as it can disturb both worshippers and the preservation of sacred art.
  • Respectful Behaviour: The temple is a place of worship, so visitors are expected to behave respectfully. Speak softly, avoid inappropriate gestures, and follow any instructions given by temple staff.
  • Guided Tours:For a comprehensive understanding of the temple’s history, significance, and artefacts, consider joining a guided tour. Local guides can provide insights not readily available through signage or guidebooks, enriching your visit with historical context and anecdotal stories.
  • Security Checks: Due to the importance and sensitivity of the site, security checks are conducted at the entrance. Travel light to ease your way through security, and be prepared for possible queues during peak visiting times.


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