The Kandy Perahera or the Esala Perahera is one of Sri Lanka’s foremost religious celebrations. It has been recorded that the Perahera was held each year since the arrival of Buddha’s tooth relic to Sri Lanka. The Kandy Perahera is an elegant procession or parade that flaunts the various talents of the Kandyan people. The procession begins with the whip crackers announcing the commencement of the event. A group of men strategically crack their coir whips onto the ground to create a spark and notify the crowds about the beginning of the parade. This act is followed by the flag bearers who carry the banners of the different regions and provinces in the country.
The most exciting experiences are watching the performance of Sri Lankan drummers and the elephant march. Drumming in Sri Lanka is a unique tradition that dates back to 2500 years. There are ten types of drums that are used at the Perahera and often these drumming acts are accompanied by enigmatic dancing. The Perahera is the one place where you could witness the elephant march. A herd of about 10 to 12 elephants are adorned with colorful costumes and taken across the road by mahouts. Also, one of the elephants carries the casket with the Buddha’s tooth relic on its head.
The Kandy Perahera usually runs for around 10 days starting in the first week of August. You need to book in advance to get seats.