discusses the rituals at the Sri Dalada Maligawa
perform the 'tevava' thrice a day
Esala Poya is of special significance to the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
This is the time when the annual pageant is held in Kandy. Prior
to discussing details of the pageant, it is useful to understand
the daily happenings inside the Dalada Maligawa by way of traditions
often when we visit the Dalada Maligawa we see drummers playing
drums to a particular rhythm. This is a form of offering made to
the sacred Tooth Relic which symbolises the living Buddha. Temple
rituals are performed daily in the name of the Buddha. The main
rituals are known as 'tevava' meaning service or offering. These
are daily services performed by monks specially selected for the
purpose. Three monks from either the Malwatta or the Asgiriya Chapter
are in charge of the 'tevava'.
nominated monks reside in the Temple during the one year period
when the task is handed over from one Chapter to the other. The
changeover takes place in the month of July. Often the Maha Nayaka
Thera of the particular Chapter himself spends most of the time
in the Dalada Maligawa during this period.
two monks perform the 'tevava' in the 'udamale', the upper floor
where the Tooth Relic is kept, the third monk conducts the 'tevava'
in the 'budu ge' (image house) in the 'pallemale', the lower floor.
The 'tevava' is done with the utmost respect and veneration by the
monks, assisted by a lay assistant. No one else is allowed to participate.
There is continuous drumming in the lower floor during the 'tevava'
thus signifying that the 'tevava' is being held.
begins around 5 in the morning, signifying the 'aluyam tevava' or
the service at dawn. The monks come down from their quarters, wash
their feet (in keeping with the tradition of cleaning your feet
prior to entering a temple) and follow the 'vattorurala' who carries
the keys of the Temple on his shoulder as a mark of respect.
utensils used for the 'tevava' are all made of gold. The ceremony
is a re-enactment of offerings made to the Buddha when He was living.
The monks recite Pali stanzas which describe the rituals. The ringing
of a bell indicates the end of the ceremony when drumming too stops.
The ceremony takes over an hour.
identical ceremony takes place during mid-day when the alms are
offered, and in the evening. During the mid-day service, five musicians
perform using different musical instruments representing the 'panca
turya naada'. What they perform is known as 'sabda puja' or offering
of sounds. Most devotees flock to pay homage to the Tooth Relic
during the mid-day service when a limited number would be admitted
to the inner sanctum, particularly those who are given the task
of planning the alms on the particular day. They are allowed to
offer flowers (the flowers are given to one of the two monks conducting
the 'tevava', who then places them before the relic casket), worship
the Relic, which is housed in seven caskets, and depart.
drum beats differ according to the various offerings made during
the 'tevava' thus offering a varied collection of tunes. In the
evening, a 'gilan pasa puja' is held. Here only liquids are offered
in keeping with the tradition of the Buddha and the Buddhist clergy
not taking any solid food after noon until the next morning.
addition to the daily rituals, there are special ceremonies connected
with the Sri Dalada. One is the 'nanumura mangalle' , a symbolic
bathing ceremony, performed with the mid-day service every Wednesday.
'Poya hewisi' is another special ritual performed by the drummers
on Poya days.