The golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses Sri Lanka’s most significant and important Buddhist relic – a tooth of Buddha . During puja (offerings or prayers), the heavily guarded room housing the tooth is open for devotees and tourists. However, you don’t actually see the tooth. It is safely kept in a gold casket shaped like a dagoba (stupa), which contains a series of six dagoba caskets of diminishing size.
As the revered main temple, the complex includes a number of smaller temples, shrines and museums.
After the parinirvana of the great Gautama Buddha, the tooth relic was preserved in Kalinga and smuggled to the island by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha on the instructions of her father King Guhasiva. They landed on the island in Lankapattana during the reign of Sirimeghavanna of Anuradhapura (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic. The king enshrined it Meghagiri Vihara (present day Isurumuniya) in Anuradhapura. Safeguarding the relic was a responsibility of the monarch, therefore over the years, the custodianship of relic came to symbolize the right to rule. Therefore, reigning monarchs built the tooth relic temples quite on the brink of their royal residences, as was the case during the days of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, and Kingdom of Dambadeniya. During the age of the dominion of Gampola, the relic was housed in Niyamgampaya Vihara. It is reported within the messenger poems like Hamsa, Gira, and Selalihini that the temple of tooth relic was situated within the town of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte when the Kingdom of Kotte was established there.
During the reign of Dharmapala of Kotte, the relic was kept hidden in Delgamuwa Vihara, Ratnapura, during a grinding stone. It was delivered to Kandy by Hiripitiye Diyawadana Rala and Devanagala Rathnalankara Thera. King Vimaladharmasuriya I built a two-storey building to deposit the tooth relic and therefore the building is now gone. In 1603 when the Portuguese invaded Kandy, it had been carried to Meda Mahanuwara in Dumbara. It was recovered within the time of Rajasinha II and it's been reported that he reinstated the first building or built a replacement temple. The present-day temple of the tooth was built by Vira Narendra Sinha.The octagonal Paththirippuwa and moat were added during the reign of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The royal architect Devendra Moolacharya is credited with building the Paththirippuwa. Originally it had been employed by the king for recreational activities and later it had been offered to the tooth relic, it now houses the temple's library.
The temple has been attacked on twice , in 1989 by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and in 1998 by the militant organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
It houses the upper-canine tooth of the Lord Buddha and for being a heritage site. The temple was built during the 17th century.
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.