Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dālada Māligāwa)




A UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Temple of the Tooth Relic which houses the tooth relic of the Buddha is part of the Royal Palace Complex of the Kingdom of Kandy founded by King Vikramabahu III in the14th century on the advice of a Brahmin who selected the site as a lucky ground for a Capital.

The Tooth Relic
The sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is the most venerated object of worship in the Buddhist world, and its present house is the last royal residence of the Kingdom of Kandy which was also the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka.

The Casket on which the Tooth relic is kept.

The Royal Palace
The royal palace of kandy is the last royal residence of the Kingdom of Kandy and also in Sri Lanka. The last king to reside in it was Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. Once part of a large palace complex that included the royal court, the Magul Maduwa and the Temple of the Tooth that held the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha. 

History of the Tooth Relic
After the “Parinirvana” (Final Nirvana, the final passing beyond suffering) of Gautama Buddha, the tooth relic was preserved in the state of Kalinga, in India. During the reign of King Guhasiva a war broke out, and the King instructed his daughter, Princess Hemamali, and son in law, Prince Dantha to take the tooth relic to Sri Lanka. 

The tooth relic was smuggled to Sri Lanka in 313 AD, hidden in the hair of Princess Hemamali who fled with her husband away from the Hindu armies besieging her fathere;s Kingdom in India.

They landed in the island during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic which was first enshrined at Isuruminiya, in Anuradhapura, the first Kingdom of Sri Lanka.

It soon became the responsibility of the monarch to safeguard the Relic, and the custodianship of the relic became a symbol of the right to rule the country. Therefore the Tooth relic changed its location from Kingdom to Kingdom to finally end up in Kandy, the last kingdom of the Island.

The tooth relic was enshrined at many locations including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa ,Kurunegala, Kotte, and even hidden in a Grinding stone in Ratnapura before finally reaching the Kingdom of Kandy.

Kingdom of Kandy
The Kingdom of Kandy founded in the 14th century and endured until the early 19th century was an important independent monarchy of Sri Lanka, located in the central and eastern portion of the island.
From the 1590s, it was the sole independent native polity on the island of Sri Lanka, and through a combination of hit-and-run tactics and diplomacy kept European colonial forces at bay. The Battle of Gannoruwa on March 28th 1638 is a good example where a highly trained and an advanced Portuguese army was completely annihilated by the Kandyan Army.

Even today the people of Kandy are very proud to talk about its history and its many military achievements that won countless battles against colonial forces till the kingdom was absorbed into the British Empire as a protectorate following the Kandyan Convention of 1815.

Today the custody of the sacred tooth is handled by three custodians, the Venerable Mahanayaka Thero of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters and the Diyawadana Nilame (Chief lay custodian).
16th Diyawadana Nilame (lay custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic) in 1964


Friday, April 20, 2012

Classic (7 Days/6 Nights) Tour Package

7Days/6 Nights Classic Package

Visit Serendib (PVT) Ltd is a Tour/Holiday management company based in Sri Lanka (one of the top travel destinations in 2012). This is the official blog operation of the company to specialize in low budget tours.

The listed package above can also be customized according to the requirements of our customers. The number of dates, locations and even the activities can all be adjusted to suit your needs

For Further information contact -, +94778882227

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sigiriya (Lion's Rock)

Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock), the rock fortress which has mystified visitors all over the world throughout her long, colorful history is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must visit if anyone comes to Sri Lanka.

Different scholars, historians and journalists have expressed various views in order to unveil the many mysteries shrouding the famous historical site. Some distinguished scholars are of the view that the ruins of Sigiriya are those of a Buddhist meditation center, while others stand by the “Culavasma” (sequel to the “Mahavamsa” (Great Chronicle).

Referring to King Kashyapa I (A.D. 478- A.D. 496), the “Mahavamsa” (Great Chronicle) states: “He betook himself through fear to Sihagiri (now Sigiri) which is difficult to ascent for human beings.... thence he built a fine palace, worthy to behold, like another “Alakamanda”, ( A city of the gods) and dwelt there like (the god) “Kuvera.”

Entrance to the Castle
Parts of the castle ruins

In 477 CE, Prince Kashyapa seized the throne from his father, King Dhatusena following a coup assisted by the King's army commander Migara, and usurped the throne from the rightful here, Moggallana, who fled to South India. He imprisoned and later executed his father. After this incident he was known as “Pithru Ghathaka Kashyapa”, meaning Kashyapa the Patricide.

Fearing an attack from Moggallana, King Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya and built his “Palace in the Sky”. During King Kashyapa's reign (477 to 495), Sigiriya was developed into a complex city and a magnificent fortress.

Moggallana returned to the country with an army and defeated Kashyapa and regained the throne in 495CE and moved the capital again back to Anuradhapura. Sigiriya was then turned back into a Buddhist monastery, which lasted until the 13th or 14th century. After this period, no records are found on Sigiriya until the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was used as an outpost of the Kingdom of Kandy.

The story of Sigiriya is full of legend, love, courage, power and betrayal. But one story remains, the story of King Kashyapa (477 – 495 A.D.) It’s creator, with an artist’s soul.

The famous frescoes at Sigiriya

In a sheltered pocket on the western face of the Sigiriya rock, approached by a Spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes of what many believe are “Apsaras” (Heavenly Maidens).

"Mirror Wall"

On the western Northern side of the steep rock face runs a gallery which provides access to the summit. Shielding this pathway is a 9 ½ ft plaster wall, so highly polished, that even today, one can see one’s reflection in it, and hence it is known as the name “Mirror Wall”. On the polished surface are the famous Sigiriya Graffiti recorded by visitors to the rock in the past dating back to the 7th centuries.


The summit of the rock is nearly three acres in extent. The outer wall of the Palace, which is the main building, was constructed on the very brink of the precipice. There were Gardens, cisterns, and ponds which were laid out attractively.

Other than the Palace ruins at the top of the summit,  other attractions of Sigiriya includes the wonderfully  laid out Gardens which according to the latest excavations are one of the oldest in the world. The gardens are divided into three distinct but linked forms: water gardens, cave and boulder gardens, and terraced gardens.

Sigiriya can be visited throughout the year, and the best time to climb is in the morning as the temperature is more comfortable compared to the afternoon. There are many Hotels and places of accommodation, and also a lot of infrastructural developments in the region allowing easy access the and links to other historical sites in Sri Lanka's "cultural triangle."

Visit Serendib (Pvt) Ltd has a variety of tour packages that covers Sigiriya as well as the many other sites around Sri Lanka, One such package that I can recommend is the Classic 7Days/6 Nights package

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons