Monks and Kings Intervene

Paul Younger

in Playing Host to Deity

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140446
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834907 | DOI:
 Monks and Kings Intervene

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The festival in Kandy in the highlands of central Sri Lanka is unusual because in the eighteenth century, an older festival tradition was transformed by an order of the emperor Krti or Rajasimha to conclude the festival with a procession from the Buddhist Tooth temple. Both an archaic festival segment and a medieval agricultural segment, introduced when the Cola dynasty conquered Sri Lanka, were clear in the description of the festival given by Robert Knox who was held prisoner in Kandy in the seventeenth century. The more Buddhist‐oriented festival described in the Buddhist Chronicle of the eighteenth century had a very political form with each province of the empire expected to bring its drummers, dancers, elephants, and political officials to march in the procession. Today those elements of the procession remain the same, but they are now thought of as a reflection of medieval grandeur.

Keywords: archaic; Buddhist; chronicle; Robert Knox; procession; Kirti Sri Rajasimha; temple; tooth

Chapter.  6780 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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