Prince Charles visits temple of the tooth relic

Buddhist Channel, 18 November 2013

Kandy, Sri Lanka -- The Prince of Wales paid his respects at Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist shrine - containing a tooth from the Buddha.

Video (in Sinhalese)

Charles was ushered into the inner sanctum of a temple complex containing the sacred artefact - but even he did not see it.

The left wisdom tooth is only brought out into the public once every five years for just over a week, with up to 50,000 people making the pilgrimage to catch a glimpse of it.

When the prince arrived at the Temple of the Tooth in the Sri Lankan town of Kandy he was mobbed by people visiting the shrine.

He shook hands that were held out to him and waved at the crowds.

The chief lay custodian of the shrine, Pradeep Nilanga Dela Bandara, who wore an elaborate red velvet jacket with gold braid and had a ceremonial dagger tucked into his belt, led the prince through two ornate silver doors with a handful of monks.

Charles carried a bowl of flower petals into the shrine and emerged a few minutes later.

The relic was smuggled to Sri Lanka in the 4th century by an Indian princess who hid the tooth in her hair and has been kept at the temple since 1592.