This year's Kandy Perahera is over now. There was some confusion concerning the precise dates, as the date given on the tooth temple website differed one day from that on the private company's booking page the tooth temple website linked, too.
It often happened, that guests booking their Sri Lanka holidays many months in advance asked us for the respective August dates of the Kandy Perahera during their next holidays. Regrettably, the official dates are usually neither published before November or December - and even then can be confusing, see above.
So what to do, if you want to reserve your rooms for Kandy Perahera some more months in advance, which makes sense indeed, because Kandy hotels and guesthouses of course are usually fully booked several months before the great event takes place.
We highly recommend: Just don't insist to see the final night of the Kandy Perahera. Though it's indeed the climax of the Kandy festival fortnight, this very last evening parade is not larger than the pageants held on the four evenings earlier on. The processions of the five final nights are called Randoli Peraheras. If you see the first one of them, the number of dancers and elephants and the sequence of ceremonies will not differ much from the Perahera of the final night. The main difference is: There are much less visitors in the streets of Kandy on the evening of the first Randoli Perahera.
And here is why this information about 5 subsequent almost equally arranged Randoli Peraheras in Kandy matters for your decision concerning the date of your overnight stay in Kandy.
In general, the final night of the Kandy Perahera festival season is held on the full moon marking the end of the Sinhalese month Esala. This is the full moon night in August. But you should be aware: The date can differ one or even two days from that you find in your calendar. One reason is that according to different time zones the hour or minute of full moon in Sri Lanka can be after midnight, whereas the same second is still before midnight in Europe or America. In this case, the fullmoon day and accordingly the final Perahera in Kandy falls on a date one day earlier than that of full moon in Western countries. And there is one more problem concerning the exact date: What counts, is not the astronomical full moon mentioned in your calendar but the astrological full moon of Sri Lankan priests. And this also can differ one day from your calendar's full moon day.
So what to do, if you want to book early in advance without knowing the exact dates
Our advice is: Book the your overnight stays in Kandy for dates that are two days earlier than the August full moon in your calendar. Doing so you can be sure not to miss one of the five largest pageants, the said Randoli Peraheras. If the astrological full moon day in Sri Lanka is the same August day as in your calendar, you would see the 3rd Randoli Perahera in Kandy. If the astrological date is 2 days earlier than in your calendar, then you would see the last parade. If the official astrological date should turn out to be 2 days later than acoording to your calendar, you would not miss the Randoli Perahera, you would see the first one. And you can be quite sure: The difference between astrological festival full moon and the August full moon mentioned in your calendar will usually be only 1 day, sometimes 2 days, but not more. Hence, booking the day two days prior to your August full moon day will guarantee that you don't miss a Randoli Perahera - unless the Perahera dates would be not determined concerning the August full moon day. But during the last years, the final festival night in Kandy was always held on the astrological full moon day of August.
What does this advice of booking "the night 2 days earlier" mean in case of the Kandy Perahera 2019?
In short: Astronomical August full moon date of next year's Kandy festival fortnight is on Thursday, 15th August 2019, (the astronomical one, not necessarily the defining astrological one!). It's pretty certain: You will not miss a huge Randoli Perahera (one of the five most famous large pageants of the Kandy festival), if you reserve a room for the night from Tuesday, 13th August, to Wednesday, 14th August 2019. This is our tip. For more detailed information concerning events and dates please visit our Kandy Festival 2019 main page...
Be aware, that prices for overnight stays in Kandy during the main festival week can double or even triple. Here's another tip: If you accept to have a one-hour transfer after seeing the evening parade, booking a room in Matale (to the north of Kandy) or in Gampola (to the southwest) instead of staying that night in Kandy can reduce your costs drastically.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka,