Annual Esala Perahera Procession

Annual Esala Perahera Procession

The Annual Esala Perahera procession of Gadaladeniya Viharaya held in the months of September and October. This procession is held annually to pay homage to the great Lord Buddha, with numerous traditional rituals and performances. The procession begins with the ‘Kapa’ planning ceremony, in which a young jakfruit tree is cut and planted in the premises of ancient Vishnu Dewalaya of Gadaladeniya which is dedicated to God Vishnu. 

Athul Perahera (Inside Procession)

For the next five nights, the ” Athul Devale Perahera” take place within the premises of the Devale with the priest of the Devale taking the pole every evening, accompanied by music and drumming, flag and canopy bearers, spearman and the Ran Ayudha (gold Armaments), the sacred insignia of the God.

Kumbal Perahera.

On the sixth night, the Kumbal Perahera begins and continues on for five days. The Dewale Perahera continues from the temple premises to the ancient way to the Sinhasanage (the throne hall of the Dewale) with multiple dances, drummers, colorful fireworks, elephants and various traditional and cultural items.

Randoli Perahera.

The Randoli Perahera begins after five nights of the Kumbal Perahera. Randoli refers to palanquins on which the Queens of the ruling Kings traditionally travelled. 2022 Kandy Esala Maha Perahera (Randoli Perahera) was held on 15th October 2022, with the participation of thousands of people. This Randoli Perahera is more colorful comparing to the Kumbal Perahera. In this procession, the ancient palanquin belong to the Dewale is brought through the streets. 

In the fourth and the fifth Randoli Perahera, the perahera of the Gadaladeniya Viharaya joins with the Dewale Perahera. The ancient relic casket is placed inside the ransivige affixed to the tusker, the Vihara Perahera joins the awaiting Devale Perahera and leads the procession. Whip-crackers and fireball acrobats clear the path, followed by the Buddhist flag bearers. Then, riding on the first elephant is the official called Peramuna Rala (Front Official) and Gajanayaka Nilame (head official of the elephants). They are followed by Kandyan Drummers and Dancers who enthral the crowd, and are themselves followed by elephants and other groups of musicians, dancers and flag bearers.

The next procession is from the Vishnu Devale, which respectfully carries the ancient insignias of God Dedimunda and God Vishnu with numerous cultural dancings and musics. 

Water Cutting Ceremony and the Day Perahera.

After a further five nights of the Randoli Perahera, the pageant ends with the Diya Kepeema, which is the water cutting ceremony at the Mahaweli River at Getambe, a town of few miles from Pilimathalawa. A Day Perahera is held to mark this ceremony.