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Viewing Kandy Esala perahera - a meditation

Kandy -- The Esala festive season begins with Esala Purapasaloswaka Poya, which is blessed with significant of a number of outstanding events pertaining to Buddha Sasana. Kandy Esala perahera is expected to end in the 1st week of August, which is the Esala season.

This is considered to be a gorgeous and the most fascinating perahera, which is the conventional pageant with Sinhala Buddhist features, held annually in this picturesque terrain of Sri Lanka.

The aim of this letter is (1) to highlight the patience and concentration or the mental discipline of people who gather to view perahera (2) to represent views on incorrect steps in the obstructions by authorities to the freedom of perahera viewers by way of providing for fee or levy, facilities on the causeway for the purpose of viewing perahera for the privileged depriving the rights of the ordinary viewer.

With the dawn of Esala Purapasaloswaka Poya, people in far villages get ready to come to Kandy to view perahera. Viewing Randoli perahera or maha perahera (as called by people) its glory and grandeur is the ambition of all and sundry. So these viewers come to Kandy early in the morning on the days of Randoli perahera.

They find a free place on the causeway and be seated patiently all day long in the picturesque shades provided by the surroundings. They remain patiently until late evening despite rain or hot sunlight or any other inconvenience caused.

Now thousands of people gathered and are seated on the causeway where there is little space irrespective of the caste, class or the social status. They are waiting to view the gorgeous display. Old and young, they are here for hours. They hear from morning the recital of Pirith and stanzas relating to previous births of the Buddha as retold in Jathaka stories.

They are restrained speak no harsh words, equanimity in them and
their minds settled and mentally disciplined as they view with unblinking eyes the glory and grandeur of approaching perahera with caparisoned elephants three in a row walking with majesties and with all attractive features such as dancers and drummers of artistry performing as an emblematic of worship to the Buddha. Finally they see carrying Randoli or ancient palanquins. The viewers were meditative and joyous.

This freedom of the ordinary viewer is being snatched by crafty money makers dump their swags and provide for fee, facilities on the causeway for the purpose of viewing perahera by the privileged. This fee goes up to several hundred rupees.

No one can endorse this obstruction to the free causeway as a correct step as it is not in the interest of ordinary perahera viewers.

So, it is the responsibility of the authorities to think twice before they authorize to provide for fee or levy, seating facilities on the causeway for the purpose of viewing perahera. The causeway should be kept free for ordinary viewer.


Updated: 2-8-2001

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