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Esala Perahara

Kandy, Ancient Central, Sri Lanka.
Location : Kandy
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Overview

Kandy, the hill capital of Sri Lanka comes alive every July/August for 10 days when the magnificent Esala Perahera. Thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to the city to witness what must be the greatest spectacle in the world. The splendor and tradition that surrounds the perahera today was initiated by King Kirthi Sri Rajasinha in the 18th-century.

Hectic rehearsals would begin weeks before, with Kandyan dancers and drummers perfecting every move and every drum beat. The procession is easily a mile long, with gloriously bedecked elephants leading the way. The largest elephant with magnificent ivory tusks, carries on his back a replica of the tooth relic casket, as the original remains in its place of enshrinement for safekeeping. A entourage of elephants walks in solemn procession, followed by the Diyawadana Nilame or the chief trustee of the temple. The rest of the colorful troupe is made up of brightly dressed devil dancers, stick dancers, fire eaters and other acrobats. The bright lights, the sound of the drum beats and the murmur of excitement in the crowds make the Perahera an unforgettable sight.

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