A procession that comprises of much splendour and finesse owing to the colourful attire donned by the various performers and elephants in order to venerate the holy tooth relic of Lord Buddha, this annual festival of music, flora and incest is one that is held with unanimous harmony between man and beast.

Commemorated every August in Kandy, this city consists of numerous legacies upon being the last capital city of the country, before Colombo gained recognition as one. Home to the sacred tooth relic premises of Dalada Maligawa which is situated at the epicentre of the township, the procession too revolves around this vicinity, with all major rituals taking place in and around this ancient castle.

If you plan to visit the Kandy Perahera 2023, here’s what you can expect:

  • A festival which gradually magnifies in its colourfulness as the days roll on by, typically within 10 days,
  • Sheer resplendence and awe from the performances of numerous musicians and acrobats, who leave their impressions of fire-breathing and whip-cracking in their trails,
  • Elephants elegantly adorned in silk costumes that are intricately embroidered and embellished, perfectly complementing the authentic culture and ethnic values of Theravada Buddhism,
  • The first day that marks the beginning of the Kandy Perahera season is the Kapsituvima ritual, a ceremony where saplings from a Jack tree are planted at each of the four shrines (known as ‘Devales’ of the tooth relic’s guardian Gods – Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini,
  • The next 5 days begin the onset of the Kumbal Perahera, each Perahera being more exuberant than its former one,
  • The last 5 days schedule the Randoli Perahera, wherein each Perahera is equally magnificent; the final segment of the procession though emanates much marvel as the Maligawa tusker (the main elephant that parades the festival with the golden casket) appears with the casket on its back and a canopy over it, not to forget the plush attire that it has been clad with.
  • The final ritual is the Water-cutting (or ‘Diya Kepeema’) ceremony that is conducted through water from the Mahaweli River. This is a custom that venerates the Gods of rainfall, in order to bless the nation for the forthcoming year.

Dates of Kandy Perahera 2023

While this Perahera is scheduled each year during the Sinhalese month of Esala (hence the name Kandy Esala Perahera), the final and most prominent procession usually takes place on a full moon day (known as a Poya day). With the full moon day being specifically known as Nikini Poya Day, this particular season falls during the month of August each year.

As far as the exact Kandy Perahera 2023 dates are concerned, these are subject to vary since confirming so depend on astronomical and astrological tendencies that can only be made in due course of time. Nonetheless, here are the speculated dates for the Kandy Perahera 2023 that’s upcoming and anticipated by one and all, both local and foreign:

  • 21st of August 2023: 1st Kumbal Perahera (public viewing of the Esala Perahera begins from here)
  • 22nd of August 2023: 2nd Kumbal Perahera
  • 23rd of August 2023: 3rd Kumbal Perahera
  • 24th of August 2023: 4th Kumbal Perahera
  • 25th of August 2023: 5th Kumbal Perahera
  • 26th of August 2023: 1st Randoli Perahera
  • 27th of August 2023: 2nd Randoli Perahera
  • 28th of August 2023: 3rd Randoli Perahera
  • 29th of August 2023: 4th Randoli Perahera
  • 30th of August 2023: 5th Randoli Perahera
  • 31st of August 2023: Diya Kepeema ceremony (‘Water-cutting’ ceremony)

Viewing Galleries for Kandy Esala Perahera 2023

When it comes to the Kandy Perahera, best viewing spots are usually located along the porches, balconies and even the corridors of buildings that fall within the route of the Perahera. Due to the large crowd which gathers for the event, spectators are only able to reserve a seat for themselves if they make bookings well ahead in advance, especially since the July – August period in Kandy is a peak season for all hospitality establishments in the city.

If you are interested to make reservations for witnessing the grandeur of this majestic festival, we here at Sri Lanka Holiday Ideas can help you obtain seats for you and your loved ones, depending on the Kandy Perahera 2023 dates. What’s more, we can also organise a tour around the island that’s wonderfully tailor-made, accommodating all your exclusive requirements – together with this Kandy Perahera! Please get in touch with us now to know more.

Tickets for Kandy Perahera 2023

Depending on the demand for reservations as well as the day that you wish to be a part of the audience of the Kandy Perahera, seats shall vary, including the number of seats that will be available for booking.

If you would like to make any reservations for seating at the Kandy Perahera 2023, please feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

History of Kandy Perahera

Perahera (n): Sinhalese for ‘procession’, a Perahera is a festival that is conducted to commemorate any occasion that deems to be of high spiritual value. While numerous Peraheras grace the streets of Sri Lanka, the Kandy Esala Perahera is by far the most prestigious one out of all, with tens of thousands of pious local people including tourists flocking in to witness the glory of this parade every year in August.

The Kandy Perahera has been a custom that has been held for centuries in order to venerate the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha which was smuggled into Sri Lanka from India by Princess Hemamala during the 4th century AD. An amalgamation of 2 individual Peraheras, the Kandy Esala Perahera that is observed today consists of customs from the Esala Perahera – rituals that were carried out to worship the Gods of rain, and the Dalada Perahera – which was originally conducted to worship the tooth relic of Lord Buddha.

See Places to Visit in Kandy.