The Esela Procession of Kandy is the ostentatious pageant of the Asia held annually to respect the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha which is honourably housed at the palace of Kandy called Dalada Maligawa. Representing a unique symbol of Sri Lanka, the procession consists of many traditional local dances such as fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandyan dances and various other cultural dances. Elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments to honour the procession. Traditional event designers have properly synchronised the colours used for the procession with lighting to create more elegant and contrasted scene all over the procession.
Justifiably the most celebrated religious and cultural pageant in South Asia, the Kandy Esala Perahera rings the goriest history of ancient Sri Lanka alive before your eyes. No other pageant anywhere else in Asia embodies so many historical cultural, political, spiritual and emotional elements of the nation. Beautifully caparisoned elephants, whip crackers and flame throwers, traditional dancers and drummers are some of the participants that threads through the old torch / lit streets in this truly exotic experience which has changed little over the centuries.
The Kandy Esala Perahera begins with the Kap Situveema, with a sanctified young Jackfruit tree (Artocarpus integrifolia) is cut and planted in the premises of each of the four Devales (Shrines of Gods) dedicated to the four guardian gods Natha, Vishnu, Katharagama and the goddess Pattini. Traditionally it was meant to shower blessing on the King and the people. The festival ends with the traditional diya-kepeema ritual, a water cutting ceremony which is held at the Mahaweli River at Getambe, Kandy.