Sri Dalada Museum

Museum for Sacred Tooth Relic

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Sri Dalada Museum

The latest institution added to the Dalada Shrine is the “Sri Dalada Museum”. Ever since the Tooth Relic shrine was established in Kandy, different grades of visitors and devotees, ranging from the Royalty and Heads of States to the poorest of the general public, have been offering various gifts to the Sacred Tooth Relic, and these were preciously protected in specially built store-rooms by the successive line of Diyawadana Nilames. The Dalada Museum is located on the first and the second floors of the new wing called the Aluth Maligawa set up by one of the past Diyawadana Nilames, T.B. Nugawela.

The display on the first floor consists of historical records from the time when the Tooth Relic was brought to Sri Lanka to the time of the British rule, the 1765 Dutch Plan of the Palace Complex, Lists of the Chief Prelates of the two monastic establishments of Malwatte and Asgiriya, who were responsible for the protection of the Tooth Relic, Lists of Kandyan kings, the portrait busts and lists of the long line of Diyawadana Nilames, the Royal garments of king Kirti Sri Rajasimha, the Pingo used by the king in the Buddha-puja service, and the most recent discoveries of mural remains that were exposed due to the bomb blast caused by Tamil Tigers in January 1998.

The photographic display includes some of the most important sites where the Tooth Relic was enshrined through centuries and a large array of pictures depicting the immeasurable damage caused to the Dalada Maligava due to the bomb blast. Among the items on view on the second floor are historical artifacts used in the daily ritual ceremonies of the Tooth Relic shrine, caskets, Buddha statues and typical Kandyan gold and silver jewellery studded with precious gem stones, all donated by the devotees. Also on view on this floor are special exhibits of great historical and religious value.

These include (a) the silver water pot offered by king Kirti Sri Rajasimha, (b) Silver hanging lamp offered by king Rajadhi Rajasimha, (c) the painted replica of Buddha’s Footprint sent by king Borom Kot of Thailand when he sent some monks to establish the Higher Ordination on Sinhala monks headed by Venerable Walivita Saranankara (who became Sangharaja subsequently), (d) the unique Relic Casket containing bodily relics of the great Thera Moggliputta who headed The Third Dhamma Council held by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd Century BC, etc. Other significant exhibits include ancient flags, coins, carved ivory tusks donated by Burma, commemorative carved plaques etc. A visit to this grandest display would evidently provide an insight into the splendor that was Kandyan Heritage, her Culture and the Arts.