A Buddhist Pilgrimage
A land that is proud of its rich Buddhist traditions, Sri Lanka has many places of religious and devotional significance for the Buddhist Devotee.
Polonnaruwa, immediately succeeding Anuradhapura as the capital, is situated on Lake Topawewa, and is a sacred site for Buddhism, besides being a site of cultural and architectural importance.
Temple of the Tooth
The Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, built in the 17th Century, is believed to house the upper left canine of the Lord Buddha himself. This sacred relic has made it a center of extreme devotion for Buddhists, and draws crowds from all across the world. According to legend, the tooth was taken from the Buddha as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was smuggled to Sri Lanka in 313 AD, hidden in the hair of Princess Hemamali who fled the Hindu armies besieging her father's kingdom in India.
Constructed over a 100 years, it is an imposing structure surrounded by a deep moat. Daily rituals are performed three times a day-at 4.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. respectively. It is important to dress respectfully, covering knees and shoulders when entering this sacred site.
A popular place of pilgrimage for the Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and indigenous Vedda communities of Sri Lanka and South India, this is a highly venerated site found about 15km Northeast of Tissa. Probably second to only Adam’s Peak in terms of footfalls per year, the Kataragama experience is one like no other.
Though not the highest mountain of Sri Lanka, the striking pyramid of Adam's Peak (7,360 ft) is certainly the most remarkable. A depression in the rocky summit resembles a huge footprint, which has been venerated as a sacred sigh from remote antiquity. This was identified by Buddhists as the Buddha's footprint, by Hindus as that of Shiva, and by Muslims as Adam's. Later the Portuguese attributed it to St. Thomas the Apostle.