Touring the Temple of the Tooth

The Temple of the Tooth has existed in many forms throughout the history of Sri Lanka. The current iteration, in the town of Kandy, holds the tooth of Buddha and is a pilgrimage site for many, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is relatively small but there are a number of other buildings on the site that are also interesting to visit.

On the day of our visit the crowds were large;nearly everyone there came with flowers or other offerings. Many of them queued for what seemed to be a rather lengthy wait in order to present those offerings in the appropriate sanctuaries.



The inner room at the Temple is not open to the public – not particularly surprising – but the façade makes for a very interesting view, particularly with the intricate detail work and bright colors over the door.


After taking in a short musical performance in the entry hall and then touring the temple itself we made our way out into the grounds surrounding the temple to visit some of the other parts of the complex. We quite quickly were introduced to some of the locals who live on the temple grounds; there were monkeys everywhere.


There were also people everywhere, many offering up prayers in various places. There was an urn holding incense sticks and also a large row of oil lamps which people were filling and lighting whilst offering up prayers.


The oil lamps were a particularly beautiful scene in a morning filled with impressive sights.


The Temple of the Tooth is one of a few major tourist destinations clustered in the highlands of central Sri Lanka, including Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa. Unlike those destinations, however, the Temple has a separate admission charge that isn’t part of the "everything" pass that is available. And, quite frankly, I liked the other sites more than this one, though walking around in Kandy and being more in a city for a few hours was nice.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.