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A Tooth For Kandy

A2mediagroup.com, May 18, 2005

Kandy, Sri Lanka -- Every year since 300 AD, first in the ancient capital Anuradhapura and more recently in Kandy, the streets have erupted in celebration of Esala Perahera, a 10-day pageant of decorated elephants, fire-juggling acrobats, traditional dancers, torchbearers and thousands of barefoot pilgrims and swordsmen.

<< Elephants feature heavily as they are symbols of abundance and fertility, and the parades are made even more mesmerising because they happen at night.

The highlight of the festival is the last day, when the sacred tooth of Buddha, which usually resides in Kandy?s ?Temple of the Tooth?, is paraded through the streets.

Cox & Kings is running a special departure to Sri Lanka to coincide with the Esala Perahera, the country?s most important annual festival.

Its 11-night Ceylon: The Enchanted Isle tour departs on 12 August and costs 1,495 per person including flights with Sri Lankan Airlines, accommodation with breakfast, guided sightseeing, transfers and a ticket for the seated viewing area of the Festival.

The festival takes place from August 12-22, as the moon waxes in the Buddhist month of Esala, and is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. It is held to invoke the blessings of the gods for rain, fertility, successful crops and good health.

Elephants feature heavily as they are symbols of abundance and fertility, and the parades are made even more mesmerising because they happen at night.

The old cannon booms after dusk and the Perahera (paraders) take to the streets for ten nights, with the parades growing ever longer each night until the final night of pageantry, when the parade is at its finest.

In addition to the Perahera Festival in Kandy, Cox & Kings? Ceylon: The Enchanted Isle tour visits the capital Colombo, Sigiriya rock fortress, Kandalama, the fabulous Buddhist shrines of Anuradhapura, the 11th century capital of Polonnaruwa, Dambulla rock caves, the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains and Yala National Park.

?The Sri Lanka tourist board, Sri Lanka Airlines and Tourism Cluster is currently running a three month marketing campaign throughout Europe to promote tourism in Sri Lanka, so we hope that publicity surrounding this important festival will also help Sri Lanka bounce back after its recent troubles.? said Simon Grove, Cox & Kings? Product Manager for the Indian subcontinent.

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