Bellanwila Esala celebrations are held every year around August or September at the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya. These celebrations showcase a number of peraheras, including Devadootha Perahera, Kumbal Perahera, Mal Perahera, Paawada Perahera, Ransivii Perahera and the Randoli Perahera—which is the final and the biggest perahera.
This year, the 67th Annual Bellanwila Perahera took place on August 26. The following are pictures from the Randoli Perahera—considered to be one of the biggest peraheras in the Low Country, and the biggest in the Western Province.
The entrance to the Bellanwila temple during the Esala celebrations.
Devotees, including their children, come every year to witness the grand Randoli Perahera.
Performers suiting up for perahera festivities.
The Buddha relic is brought out of the shrine and placed on top of an elephant to be paraded.
Elephants are dressed up regally prior to the perahara.
Monks are given special seats from which to view the perahara.
Crowds gather in numbers, eagerly awaiting the start of the perahara.
Fireball dancers are thought to ward off demons and negative energy.
‘Pandang karaya’ originally carried fire lamps, but in modern times, electric lamps are commonly used.
Traditional drummers and dancers perform at the perahara. A combination of Udarata (Up Country) and Pahatha Rata (Low Country) performances can be seen.
The relic of the Buddha is paraded on the back of a tusker as it marches on the streets.
A variety of performers participate in the perahera, with performances representing the devala of Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya.
With text contributions by Shiran Illanperuma.