An Entire Temple Devoted to a Tooth

By | December 31, 2018

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The Temple of the Sacred Tooth, Kandy, 1913. From The Gorgeous East by Frank Elias. [Adam and Charles Black, London, 1913]. Artist Thyra Creyke-Clark. Source: (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

In Sri Lanka, there is an entire temple dedicated to a tooth. It’s not just any tooth, however. It is said to be the tooth of Buddha himself. Appropriately named the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, is, ironically, located in the village of Kandy where the sacred tooth is said to have been housed since 313 AD. The temple is beautiful, and one of the most sacred places in all of Sri Lanka. Here is the strange and captivating story of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. 

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The Tooth is a Sacred Relic of Great Importance

Legend claims that the tooth was removed from the mouth of Buddha as he lay dead on his funeral pyre. In 313 AD, Princess Hemamali was fleeing her father’s kingdom in India as it was being attacked by Hindu soldiers. With her, she took the sacred tooth of Buddha. She hid the tooth in her hair and disguised herself as a spiritual Hindu Brahmin to sneak out undetected.