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Top Festivals To Visit In Sri Lanka


When visiting a new place, it is indeed special to witness and even participate in their cultural and religious festivals. Sri Lanka is one of the few countries where visitors have the opportunity to experience Buddhist festivals being celebrated on a grand scale.  

If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka, these are some of the top festivals celebrated in the island nation.

Kandy Esala Perahera (Festival of the Tooth)

Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the most important and biggest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated with great fanfare in the religiously significant central Sri Lankan city Kandy, to honour the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, housed in the famed The Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa).  Also known as The Festival of the Tooth, the event is marked by week-long grand street processions (Perahera) featuring majestically decorated elephants, colourful fire dancers, musicians and light displays. It is a unique experience to witness this Buddhist festival and should not be missed if you happen to be visiting Sri Lanka in July.

Vesak Poya

Vesak Poya, the Buddhist Festival of Lights is celebrated on the full moon day in March. It marks three significant events in the life of Lord Buddha – birth, attaining enlightenment and death. Not just Buddhist temples, but even public places like Biera Lake in Colombo, homes, shops, buildings are beautifully lit. All around you will see traditional white paper lanterns put up. The sight of hundreds and thousands of these lit white lanterns adorning the night sky is truly spectacular. The best celebrations take place in Colombo.

Galle Literary Festival

The once-upon-a-time Portuguese, Dutch and finally British colony, Galle today is a lovely coastal city in southwest Sri Lanka and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city itself is definitely worth a day trip to explore the historic Dutch Fort, Lighthouse, Church and Galle National Museum. The Galle Literary Festival is a much-awaited annual event that has been held in the city for the past 10 years. Drawing renowned authors from all over world, the five-day fest has a great vibe with book readings of popular and new works, poetry recitals, music, theatre performances, photography exhibition and more. Even if you are not a book worm, it is worth experiencing the Galle Literature Festival.   

With Hinduism being the second important faith followed in Sri Lanka, festivals such as Maha Shivaratri and Deepavali are also celebrated in temples and homes with a lot of traditional fervour.  

Plan your trip to Sri Lanka such that your visit coincides with at least one of the main festivals. Before leaving from India, make sure you have Travel Insurance for Sri Lanka. This is as important as getting your Sri Lanka Visa in place because travel insurance covers you in case of any theft, loss, damage or trip cancellation. You can purchase an international travel insurance policy online at your convenience to suit your needs.  

Festivals and feasting go hand in hand. Make sure you sample some authentic Sri Lankan dishes during your trip.

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