‘Janaraja Perahera’ to parade Kandy streets today

The Temple of the sacred tooth relic or Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy Sri Lanka

(Photo by Chathura Anuradha Subasinghe on Unsplash)

The historic Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka will host a ‘Janaraja Perahera’ today (February 19), after a gap of 34 years.

The procession, organised to coincide with Sri Lanka’s 75th independence celebration, will be inaugurated under the patronage of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

According to the Coordinating Officer and the Cultural Officer of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the procession will begin from the Magul Maduwa premises at 6.30 p.m. today.

It will parade Dalada Street, Yatinuwara Street, Kanda Street, Raja Street, and return to the temple, marking the end of the event.

The organisers have made preparations to make the ‘Janaraja Perahera’ colourful, with cultural performances, including dancing troops, and caparisoned elephants, similar to the annual Esala Perahara.

However, unlike the Kandy Esala Perahara, the ‘Dalada Karandwa’ (the casket containing the sacred relics) will not be carried on a tusker at the ‘Janaraja Perahera’. Instead, the national emblem of Sri Lanka will be carried, the President’s Media Division (PMD) mentioned.

The ‘Janaraja Perahera’ aims to promote the tourism industry, according to the PMD.

The ‘Janaraja Perahera’ was first organised in 1875 to celebrate the arrival of the Duke of Wales, the son of Queen Victoria, to Ceylon. The procession was also held in 1954 when Queen Elizabeth II, the then-Head of State of Sri Lanka, visited the country. The Queen watched the ‘Janaraja Perahera’ from the Patthirippuwa. In 1981, a similar procession was held, and Queen Elizabeth II watched the procession from a special platform built in the Maha Maluwa, the main courtyard.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic only organises special processions like the ‘Janaraja Perahera’ at the request of the government on significant occasions in the country. The last time the ‘Janaraja Perahera’ was held was in 1987 by the then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Meanwhile, a special traffic arrangement is in place in Kandy this evening in view of the ‘Janaraja Perahera’.

As per this traffic plan, implemented from 5.00 p.m. tomorrow until the end of the procession, traffic will be diverted away from Dalada Street, Yatinuwara Street, Raja Street and Kanda Street.

Accordingly, motorists are requested to use alternative routes during this period to avoid any inconveniences.