Random thoughts during Esala Perahera 2018

1. Today's the day! I'm going to see Sri Lanka's biggest religious festival!

2. What is it about again? *Googles*

3. Uh-huh. Buddha's gift to Sri Lanka. A piece of his tooth. I wonder how...

4. Let's go! I'll keep my eyes open for the Upper Country views.

5. *Snores the whole 3-hour trip*

6. Sweet, we're in Kandy!

7. *Placing all our valuables in one communal bag for easy navigation* Are we sure about this?

8. Trust the guide, Erica. Trust the guide.

9. I'm confused. I brought the scarf to cover my chest but Lady Guard removed and wrapped it around my waist. Priorities.

10. The Buddhist flag reminds me of Indak-Indak colors. So festive!

11. Welcome to Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth! #feelingblessed

12. It's glad to see that this religious festival is still staying true to its essence. After all these years, it's still a family affair! Unlike one religious festival I know where most people look forward to the parties and drinking sprees with friends. Looking at ya, Sinulog.

13. Can we get closer to the temple?

14. *sees elephants* Or... how about we get closer to the elephants first?

15. Hello, cuties! I'm so sorry for the chains. I will see you later, super stars!

16. The main temple! It looks more like a place where someone declared independence.

17. All these people sitting on the pavement for HOURS just to watch a procession is the definition of dedication.

18. Soooo many people and security's tight. Is this the equivalent of seeing the Pope in person?

19. Alright, back to the road TO FIND SEATS!! Now's the time to approach me with your best offers, Misters.

20. 40 US Dollars for a monobloc seat at the back row!? HARD PASS.

21. Awwwe, the elly's all dressed up for tonight! Don't hit him please. That's my good boy...

22. ...and my good boy's pooping in the middle of the street! That's a big one, boy. Good job!

23. Seriously, that's the biggest fibrous turd I've ever seen. It's like 2 basketballs put together.

24. This man's offering 20 USD for a seat-- best so far. We heard a "GTFO" when we negotiated for a lower price, so 20 USD it is.

25. Now that the seat is settled, it's ICE CREAM TIME!! and pee and freshen up and walk around and photo op, of course. We can't do all these things once the procession starts.

26. Wow, this lake is so clean. This city is so magical.

27. Unto our seats, ladies and gents. The parade is about to start. The city is enveloped in a calm but sparky vibe. Excites!

28. Awwe, thank you doggies for keeping us safe. Who's my good boy?

29. We've been sitting for more than an hour but I can't see the head of parade. It's almost 20:00!

30. Is that a whip? Am I seeing correctly? They're flogging the floor to mark the beginning of the procession. That's an odd start.

31. *roughly shuffles the communal bag to find my coin purse and throw coins at the floggers* FASTER, PURSE. SHOW YOURSELF.

32. That little baby boy poi is the cutest!

33. The flag bearers are so regal! There's too many flags, though. I like the gold ones with different designs. They remind me of Game of Thrones house sigils. My house will def have one someday!

34. Hello, Elly No. 1. You're doing amazing, sweetie!

35. The sound of all the drums and wind instruments is loud but unusually sweet to the ears.

36. Oh so apparently, back when caste system still exists, people of the lower castes were required to perform during religious or royal events. Caste is dead now (I hope!) but everyone continues to dance as an offering to Lord Buddha. Talk about devotion!

37. Their dances and costumes are so unique. Preserving this culture in a modern generation must have been so hard but totally fulfilling.

38. Almost all of these men are oh so fit. Look at that brown brawn!

39. WAIT. A. MINUTE. Yeah, all of these are men! Where are my ladies?

40. I was told they will come later. Okies, back to regular elly programming.

41. WAIT. AGAIN. All these men are barefoot! Even the organizers don't have footwear!(??)

42. Spinning pancakes, tossing, and catching them while still spinning must have been the hardest act I've seen tonight. You have my respect, dudes!

43. 3 elephants are walking side by side peacefully. Something tells me these ellies are aware they're the stars of the show.

44. Thank you torch guys for the light and warmth. We're meters away but I can already feel the heat from your torch. I can only imagine how hot it must be for you, guys.

45. Everyone's standing. Should I stand, too? Maybe this is just a social experiment to see if I follow the crowd.

46. Aye, shucks. It's the Maligawa Tusker-- the main elly carrying Buddha's Tooth. We REALLY need to stand as sign of respect.

47. I'm awestruck by how awestruck my fellow spectators are. In front of us is a relic of a person they worship since they were kids. This is a holy moment for everyone and I am glad to be here with them.

48. Who is this man and why is he wearing fancy shoes in the middle of this sacred parade?

49. Eeep so he's the Diyawadana Nilame, the one in-charge of taking care of the Tooth. If you guys told me sooner, I wouldn't have judged him for wearing shoes. Hihi

50. More flags. I think it's the end of the procession. That was faster than expected.

51. No? What do you mean we can't go yet? We've seen the Tooth Relic. It's over.

52. I'm confused now. The parade is not yet over. The next part is for the other gods. I thought they only worship Buddha??

53. Hmmm, our guide explained that Sri Lanka had Hindu kings who injected their religion to the Buddhist culture. This is why we also celebrate Hindu gods like Vishnu, Katharagama, and a few others in the festival. Interesting...

54. There's a different rhythm and art for every god. This is totally spellbinding.

55. My battery's at 10%!!! I know it's been more than 6 hours of photos and videos, but I need you to keep going.

56. The ladies are here! Woot! Woot! You all look so stunning.

57. They are really enjoying their dances! It makes me want to join them!! Calm your baila heart, Er.

58. Alright, my phone's dead. It's just you and me now, Perahera. You and me.

59. Elly No. 61, the last one for tonight's parade, is adorned with too many lights. I hope he's not too hot with all those bulbs around.

60. Yay, procession is over! Oh my glob, I just felt how sore my butt is.

61. Can I rush to the ellies and congratulate them for a good job? No? :(

When you lowkey escaped to look for an elly to pet, but the guide caught you with his flash 😂


  1. What a great post that you have shared your experience with Kandy Esala Perahera. You make information easy for us that we get good information. Thanks for sharing your experience about Esala Perahera with us. Uncommon Places to visit Sri Lanka

    1. Thank you, Laura! I'd love to be back in Sri Lanka soon. It's always an amazing experience. :)


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