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Kandy Esala Perahera - Day 01 (2024-Aug-10)
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Ways to Experience Esala Perahera Festival
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Reviewed August 25, 2017

The Esala Perahera happened to be on during the dates we had booked for our trip so we though we'd make our way to Kandy for the first night of the parade. We'd read various reviews in advance about booking seats and decided to take a risk with the crowd (some places were charging more than tickets for a West End show to sit on a plastic chair in a shop front). The pavements had already started filling up by about 1pm so we moved away from the Temple of the Tooth further on the route and looked for spots. Eventually after a lot of people trying to sell us seats we ended up paying for spots on the pavement for about a fiver as we couldn't be bother to look anymore (and the further along the route you go the later the parade gets to you - obviously). That said, we sat on the pavement for at least 5 hours waiting for the big event to kick off. We occupied our time chatting to the families around us but it was a long and hot wait and there were no toilets nearby (to our knowledge).

Fast forward to the time the parade eventually arrived at us. The parade itself is a fantastic spectacle but there does come a point where it gets very monotonous and you start hoping it'll soon end.

The biggest issue for us was that we had just come from Minneriya, seeing 100+ wild elephants during the migration and contrasting that to seeing 40+ tuskers chained (tightly chained - we saw one elephant with a chain so tight it was cutting into its leg and clearly causing discomfort as it kept rubbing it with its other foot). These are the most beautiful and majestic animals and it was incredibly sad seeing them in this sort of captivity (to be honest I don't agree with seeing them in zoos either). My partner and I found it heartbreaking to watch. Its for this reason that I have rated it so low.

Date of experience: July 2017
8  Thank LittleLoudLucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed August 23, 2017

the Esala Perahera is a must see. This procession takes place in August over a period of 10 days. Each day the procession itself becomes more intens and grows in number of participants. Each year a date is set for the perahera, so you need to check upfront for the exact dates.
The meaning of the Perahera is paying respect to the relic (tooth) of Buddha. In this procession the relics are carried by elephants. Musicians and dancers accompany the preachers. it takes about 3-4 hours before the entire procession is over. by the way, you will see some 80-90 elephants in this procession
please be aware that this is the main procession in Sri Lanka for the buddhist society and attract a lot of tourist as well. to be safe you need to make a reservation (or try to arrange it on the day itself) for seats.

Date of experience: August 2017
1  Thank BJongh
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed August 17, 2017

We booked tickets at a tearoom which had a terrace overlooking the parade. Prime view and glad we did that as it is packed with people that night. Can book online in advance.
If anything, the parade went on for hours, but you make contact and the evening flies by. Worth doing if you are there at the right time of year.

Date of experience: September 2016
1  Thank Fransvds
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed August 17, 2017

We visited the last day of the perahera festival and had excellent seats outside the Queens hotel.
Arrived 17h00 festival scheduled for 19h00 started at 21h00 and finished after midnight. Many thousands of spectators some there since 10 h00. Practical tip you need a strong or empty bladder!
Many different groups of dancers, jugglers, drummers and flaming torches interspersed at frequent intervals by hobbled elephants brought in from various places. Elephants most beautifully decorated with colourful blankets and lights. A unique experience and display of asian culture - this's is reputedly the best but became repetitive and over extended. Last night always co-insides withe the full moon

Date of experience: August 2017
2  Thank Douglas C
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed August 16, 2017 via mobile

It is beautiful to see this festival, you can see something of their culture! Music, culture dance, and elephants! To see the elephants was hard and very sad! There was one elephant and I saw tears in his eyes, that was so sad and now I'm writing this I get emotional! I hope one day the elephants will be free and that they will not be the attraction!

Date of experience: August 2017
1  Thank FSahertian
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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