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Esala Perahera 03
31 July 2004 David Astley

Esala Perahera 03

Kandy, Sri Lanka

The drummers are next and the crescendo of noise starts to increase before the first elephants appear. The Esala Perahera has been held in Kandy every year since the 18th century (although its origins go back to an annual ritual held since the 4th century), so that must make it one of the longest running shows in the world. However, some locals get offended when the Perahera (which means ‘parade’) is promoted as a tourist attraction, because it is a religious festival which they say must be celebrated with ‘the highest esteem and reverence’. Some say it is to honour the Buddha’s tooth which is housed in the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha (commonly known as the Temple of the Tooth). Others say it is to honour Buddhism and to invoke the blessings of the gods for rain, successful crops, fertility and good health.

Nikon D100 , AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm 1:3.5-5.6 G
All images, except last two, shot at ISO3200 or 6400 full exif

other sizes: small medium original
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