Elephants are part and parcel of the Sri Lanka identity and experience, and feature in processions held at a number of temples during the year. The Esala Perahera, held in July or August in Kandy, is the country's largest festival featuring elephants, but it is not the only one.
The full moon day in the month of February marks Nawam Poya, commemorating the congregation of the first Buddhist council. For visitors to Colombo, the occasion also provides a marvelous chance to see elephants in their finery, parading through the streets of the capital. They are part of the annual Nawam Maha Perahera held annually by the Gangaramaya Temple, along with dignitaries marching and dancers whirling to the beat of drums and the blare of conch shells.
The elephants are brought to Colombo from various temples across the land, and dressed in bright costumes. Some of them are adorned with garlands of lights, as well. The defining moment of the Perahera is the procession of the Gangaramaya Temple tusker, Nawam Raja, bearing a casket with the sacred relic of the Buddha.
Don't miss a chance to be a spectator at one of Sri Lanka's temple Peraheras!