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Lake and Temple of the Sacred Tooth (Dalada Vihara) at Kandy

Lake and Temple of the Sacred Tooth (Dalada Vihara) at Kandy

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 430/5(5)

Item number: 43055

Genre: Photograph

Photograph taken in the 1880s by an unknown photographer, of the lake and the Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, in Kandy, Sri Lanka. From the reign of Vimaladharmasuriya I (ruled 1592–1604), Kandy was the capital of Sri Lanka until the island came under British rule in 1815. It remains the cultural and spiritual centre of the nation. The view shows the Dalada Maligawa from the lake's opposite shore. The temple is one of the most sacred places of Buddhist worship in the world and enshrines a tooth relic of the Buddha, smuggled into Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD by an Indian princess. The structure, mostly dating from the 17th century, is part of the royal palace complex and is accessed via a tunnel leading from a draw-bridge over the surrounding moat. The relic is carried in procession in a casket on the back of an elephant during the famous Festival of the August Moon (Esala Perahara), accompanied by traditional dancers and chieftains wearing the regalia and dress of the ancient Kandyan Kings.

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