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Temple of the Tooth
The Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) is a Buddhist temple which can be found in the royal palace complex of the former kingdom of Kandy.
The relic which is found here is said to be the left upper canine tooth of the Lord Buddha which was taken as he lay on his funeral pyre in 483 BC. History says the tooth was smuggled into Sri Lanka in Princess Hemamali’s hair whilst fleeing the Hindu armies besieging her father’s kingdom in India. It was transported throughout the country being in Anuradhapura before ending up at its final destination in the temple in Kandy.
The tooth became a symbol of sovereignty and was believed that whoever was in possession of the sacred relic had the right to rule the island of Sri Lanka. The main tooth shrine (Vahahitina Maligawa) is currently located in a two storey rectangular temple in the centre of a paved courtyard. The look of the temple from the outside doesn’t do any justice to the grandeur of the inside. The interior is covered in intricate carvings into the wood and ivory. The actual tooth relic is kept in a dagoba shaped golden casket inside and is heavily guarded throughout the year and no one is allowed in. The only exception to this is during Puja when devotees on pilgrimage and tourists can enter. The shrine is considered a place of pilgrimage for Sri Lankan Buddhists to visit at least once in a lifetime to achieve ultimate karma.
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