By: Isuru Parakrama
Colombo (LNW): The historic Temple of the Tooth Relic in the city of Kandy will host a Janaraja Perahara on February 19th, after a gap of 34 years.
The procession has been organised to coincide with the 75th Independence Celebration, and it will be inaugurated under the patronage of 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 pm on February 19th. It will parade along the Dalada Street, Yatinuvara 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 Perahera.
However, unlike the Kandy Esala Perahara, the Dalada Karandwa (Casket carrying the sacred relics) will not be carried on a tusker at the Janaraja Perahara. Instead, the national emblem of Sri Lanka will be carried.
The Janaraja Perahera aims to promote the tourism industry, and facilities have been arranged along the Janaraja Perahara route for the spectators who come to watch it.
The Janaraja Perahara 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 Perahara from the Paththirippuwa. 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 Perahara at the request of the government on significant occasions in the country. The last time the Janaraja Perahara was held was in 1987 by the then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa.