The Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic, or ‘Sri Dalada Maligawa,’ is located in Kandy, the cultural centre, and is the most important place of worship for all Buddhists in the country. It houses sacred tooth relic of Gautama Buddha, which is one of the most revered and respected relics in Buddhism, both in Sri Lanka and around the world.

The sacred tooth relic of Buddha, to this day, rests majestically in a gilded casket surrounded by worshippers, flowers, and countless jewels inside an inner shrine in the Temple of the  Sacred Tooth Relic. The Temple is magnificently created with Kandyan structures as well as the architectural styles of the previous kingdoms’ ‘Dalada Maliga,’ which held the precious tooth relic.

temple of the tooth relic 2

The history behind the Sacred Tooth Relic.

The Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic houses the relics of what is thought to be Gautama Buddha’s tooth well preserved in a casket. According to legend, Lord Buddha, upon his personal attendant, Ananda Thero’s, request, advised that some relics be extracted from his ashes after his death and sent to Buddhist countries around the world.

As a result, after Buddha’s death (Pirinirvana) and cremation, it is said that four teeth were retrieved and kept as the holy relics of Buddhism. The four tooth relics were reported to be divided among four Buddhist kingdoms seeking to worship them.

One is claimed to have been transported to the world of Gods, another to the land of Nagas, yet another to the kingdom of Gandhara (modern-day Pakistan), and the top left canine tooth to the Kalinga kingdom in Eastern India. This final tooth is the relic that now resides at Kandy’s Temple of Tooth Relic, where it is revered and respected. It had become an object of extreme respect and devoted worship, which drew hatred of other religions at that time. Many fanatical Kalinga kings have attempted to destroy the relic, but it is reported to have miraculously survived all of the attacks.

When a neighboring kingdom declared war Kalindgadesha, India, the Kalinga king smuggled the sacred tooth relic to Sri Lanka making Sri Lanka the home of Buddha’s sacred tooth relic.

Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic History

The arrival of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Sri Lanka is a historically significant event. The tooth relic was hidden in the princess’s hair and carried into the land by the Kalinga king’s own children, Prince Danta and Princess Hemamali. One of the most famous and re-created historical arts in Sri Lanka is an antique mural depicting two Indian royals transporting the sacred tooth relic to Sri Lanka.

It was first kept in the kingdom of Anuradhapura, then at Polonnaruwa, Rohana, Kotmale, Beligala, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Gampola, Jayawardenapura Kotte, and Sitawaka, and eventually in Kandy where present Temple of the Tooth Relic located at. 

Building Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy

The first temple “Sri Dalada Maligawa” in Kandy, was built by King Wimaladharmasuriya (1592 – 1604). The temple was was destroyed by the Portuguese during their invasions. The second temple was built by King Rajasinghe the Second  (1635 – 1687), which was destroyed by the Dutch.In year 1687 King Wimaladharmasuriya the Second built a 3 storeyed Sri Dalada Maligawa. But with time the building was decayed and destroyed. Later his son King Sri Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe  (1707 – 1739) built the Dalada Maligawa which can be seen today.

King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe rebuilt and enhanced the temple to its current state. Paththirippuwa, also known as the Octagonal Pavilion, was built by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, who reigned from 1798 to 1815. To this day, the Sacred Tooth Relic is being guarded and religious rituals are being performed without pause under the strict supervision of the three chief custodians of the Tooth Relic, the most Venerable Mahanayake theros of Malwatta and Asgiriya chapters, and the custodian of the temple of the sacred tooth relic, Diyawadana Nilame.

Secred tooth relic

Temple Of The Tooth Ceremonies

There are specal religious programs held in temple of the tooth relic on Every Full Moon Poya day, Aside from these daily, weekly, and monthly ceremonies, four main ceremonies which are held on each year. 

  1. Aluth Sahal Mangailaya
  2. Avurudu Mangallaya
  3. Esala Mangallaya
  4. Karthika Mangallaya.

The most important of these four ceremonies is the Esala Mangallaya. According to the Sinhalese calendar, Esala is the month of July/August. Kandy gets into a festive mood during this time of year. Maligawa and its surroundings, are gorgeously decorated and and people from all around the world gathered to celebrate the festival. The Kumbal Perahera which is the top attraction of the festival begins on the fifth day and lasts for ten consecutive nights, when the sacred relic casket is paraded through Kandy’s streets followed by glamorously costumed dancers and drummers.

The architecture of the temple of the sacred tooth relic.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is designed in the Kandyan architectural style.  Once inside, you will notice the stunning artwork and complex carvings in wood, gold, silver, ivory, and bronze. It was nice to wander through hallways decorated with colorful flags and brightly lit chandeliers. 


The Tooth Relic is preserved in a room on the temple’s upper floor. A magnificent door with intricate ivory and silver carvings stands guard casket of the tooth relic. sacred Tooth relic it self is not visible to the general public. It is safely hidden inside a gold casket containing six smaller ornately designed caskets. During puja (prayer), devotees are shown these caskets, which are housed in the inner room. This occurs three times per day: in the morning, afternoon, and evening. 

To the north of the temple stands the Royal Palace. A section of the Palace has been turned into an archaeological Buddhist museum. which is home to many Buddha statues and interesting items related to the Tooth Relic’s history.

What You Can See At Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic?

  • Temple of the Tooth Relic
  • The Royal Palace
  • The Octagonal Pavilion or ‘Pattirippuwa’
  • The Main Entrance to the Temple
  • Moat
  • Handun Kunama
  • The Gilded Canopy of the Temple
  • Diyathilaka Mandapaya
  • Queens Bath Building
  • The Temple of the Tooth
  • Museum at the New Palace
  • The International Buddhist Museum at the Old Court House
  • The International Museum of Kandy
  • The Raja Museum
  • Kandy Lake

What you Should wear when visiting the temple of the sacred tooth Relic

wearing a light-colored conservative outfit is always much better as the Temple of the Tooth Relic compound is always crowded with Buddhist devotees, pilgrims dressed in white from head to toe, and Buddhist monks dressed in orange robes from all over the world. you will not be allowed to enter if you are dressed provocatively or revealingly. If that is the case, you may always buy a sarong or a long cloth from one of the many little shops in the neighborhood and wrap it over you.


Before entering, you must leave your footwear outside the main door, and there is a dedicated hut where you may keep your footwear safely for a reasonable rate.

How to get to the temple of the tooth relic kandy

Distance between Colombo and Kandy is 122 kms, as the temple is accessible by day trip from Colombo and takes approximately 3 hours to reach. You can take the bus (the cheapest option), the train (a little more expensive but faster), The Sacred Tooth Relic Temple complex is located in Kandy’s centre, around 2 kilometers from the Kandy railway station. or a private driver.

Opening hours and enterece fees of temple of the tooth relic

  • The temple is open from 5.30 am to 8.30 pm. Puja timings are 5.30 am, 9.30 am and 6.30 pm.
  • The entrance fee for the temple is LKR 1,500 / 5.50 GBP / 7.50 USD.

Where to stay in Kandy

There are only a few hotels that have the best views of both the city and are near to the center where the Kandy perahera Festival is held. Here are a few that have been shortlisted.

  • Hotel Suisse
  • Elegant Hotel
  • The Stone House 
  • The Queens Hotel
  • Clock Inn Hostel
  • Villa 92 

Other things to do in Kandy

Other historical temples in kandy

  • Gadaladeniya Viharaya
  • Embekke Devalaya 
  • Lankathilaka Viharaya

Bahirawa Kanda Hill

  • The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue is the highest in Sri Lanka, at 88 feet tall.

Peradeniya botanicle gardern

  • Peradeniya Botanical Garden is a 15-minute drive from kandy city and a ideal place for some unforgettable photographs.

Image courtesy of Balathasan Sayanthan, Mal B, Amila Tennakoon Dananjaya Chathuranga Photography via creative commons licenses. some rights reserved.

Those who are pondering visiting Temple of the Tooth Relic Kandy can go through our tour packages or make the resevations through our website.