One of the chief objects of interests in Kandy is the ‘Dalada Maligawa’ or Temple of the Sacred Tooth. This is the heart of Kandy, and the Tooth of Buddha is the heart of it. The relic came from India sixteen centuries ago, and moved from capital to capital always with the king. It is rarely shown and never leaves the temple. The temple and the ‘Pattirippuwa’, which is the octagonal building on the right of the main entrance, are enclosed by an ornamental stone wall and a moat. Upon entering, you pass through a small quadrangle and turn to the right, up a flight of stone steps, to the temple. The most striking features that attract one’s attention are the unusual carvings, brightly coloured frescoes representing torments for various classes of sinners, and many images of Lord Buddha. The flower-sellers are ranged on either side and the atmosphere is heavy with the perfume of the white blossoms. Yellow-robed priests flit here and there, whilst the music of the temple bells and the rhythmic beat of the tom-tom fill the air with strange melodies that harmonize with the nature of the city. At the entrance to the sanctuary which contains the Sacred Tooth is an elaborate door, inlaid with silver and ivory, with two pairs of elephants’ tusks on either side. Within this chamber is the huge silver-gilt, bell-shaped shrine that protects the Tooth. Inside this shrine are six inner shrines ornamented with precious stones of rare value.
The Octagon, or the ‘Pattirippuwa’ was built shortly before the Kandyan Convention of 1815, by which Kandy was ceded to the British. After being a British military prison, it is now a library, mainly for ancient “olas” – manuscripts on palm-leaves- many of which are magnificently bound and are held in due reverence by pilgrims as containing the teachings of Lord Buddha. The finest thing artistically is in the small shrine beside the stairway of the Octagon- a crystal statue of the Buddha in a most attractive shrine-case.
Next door to the Tooth Temple is the Audience Hall where the Kandyan kings held court with all pomp and ceremony. The rich carvings on the pillars and the wall plates are excellent examples of Kandyan architecture. It was in this Audience Hall that the last king of Kandy used to receive British ambassadors ; it was also here that the submission to Britain was signed and Sri Lanka’s (then called Ceylon) independence in 1948 celebrated.
Situated opposite the Tooth Temple. The stone sanctuary is the oldest building in Kandy, built five centuries ago when Kandy was founded ; it is dedicated to the next Buddha to come to the world. The gateway from it to the north is old, with good sculpture. It has a dagoba and a bo-tree, sapling of that at Anuradhapura.
Situated opposite the gateway. Dedicated to Vishnu as the Protector of Sri Lanka (but it is a Buddhist temple, not Hindu).