Tooth Relic Temple

The Sacred Tooth Relic temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka is said to house a tooth of the Buddha. During puja, the heavily guarded sanatorium holding the stupa containing the tooth is open to devotees and tourists. The tooth is held inside a gold casket shaped stupa, which is, in turn, nested inside a set of six stupas.

The complex, which was also one of the targets of the escalated civil war in Sri Lanka a decade ago, also has a series of smaller temples, shrines and museums.

The local legend goes that after foriegn attacks Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha smuggled a tooth from the remains of Gautam Buddha after he attained nirvana in her hair to the island nation on the instructions of her father King Guhasiva. They landed in Lankapattana, which was ruled by Sirimeghavanna of Anuradhapura (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic. As the kingdom changed capitals, the relic has been placed in several shrines. Eventually, it found home in Kandy.

Another temple for the tooth relic can be found in the Nagarjunakonda museum on an island in the Nagarjunasagar Lake in Guntur, Amaravathi, Andhra Pradesh.

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