Sometime after 362 CE, a Brahmin princess is believed to have brought to the island a tooth of the Buddha she had
concealed in her hair. By the Polonnaruva Period (1017-1215 CE) the relic had attained great importance and its
possession was regarded as essential for the exercise of royal sovereignty. A cult arose surrounding the tooth
and a small palace (Dalada Maligawa) was built as a part of the royal palace in Kandy.
Once a year the famous Esala (August) Perahera (procession) is celebrated. It is the climax of ten days and nights
of increasing excitement in Kandy. On the night of the full moon (poya) in August, the tooth relic is carried in
colourful procession through the streets of Kandy on the back of a great bull elephant. Smaller Peraheras are held
at other locations on the Island.