The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy is commonly known as Tooth Temple. It’s also called Sri Dalada Maligawa by locals. It enshrines a canine of the historical Budhha Shakyamuni, one of the most venerated relics in the entire Buddhist world. Since the 4th century AD, this relic has played a major role in local ceremonies and became a kind of national palladium, as in the Middle Ages and modern period it has been believed that the holder of the Tooth Relic is the chosen guardian of the faith and rightful ruler of the island and the city safekeeping the relic is the capital of the Buddhist nation. The Kandyan kings became the protectors of the Tooth Relic in the late 16th century. Kandy has therefore been regarded as the Sinhalese capital and the Tooth Temple formed a part of the royal palace.
The buildings of the Tooth Relic Temple in Kandy are mainly from the late 18th century, except from the wooden hall in the very centre, which keeps the Sacred Tooth and is crowned by a gilded canopy. This hall is from the 17th century, its two storeys are known as "Palle malaya" (lower floor) and "Udu malaya" (upper floor) or "Weda hitina maligawa". The entire complex of the Tooth Relic Temple together with the nearby Hindu Devales is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The best times to visit the temple are the three daily puja ceremonies. Foreign guests are welcome to join the celebrations taking place mainly in front of the upper floor of the wooden hall, if they are dressed properly and behave in a respectful way. Taking pictures of the ceremonies is permitted.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka