Image by Amar Grover Getty Images
The golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. During puja (offerings or prayers), the heavily guarded room housing the tooth is open to devotees and tourists. However, you don’t actually see the tooth. It’s kept in a gold casket shaped like a dagoba (stupa), which contains a series of six dagoba caskets of diminishing size.
As well as the revered main temple, the complex includes a series of smaller temples, shrines and museums.
Freelance guides will offer their services around the entire temple complex for around Rs 600, and free audio guides are available at the ticket office. An elevator facilitates access for travellers with disabilities.
The complex can get crowded as it receives many worshippers and tourists, and backpackers, Chinese tour groups and Thai monks all jostle for space. Wear clothes that cover your legs and your shoulders, and remove your shoes.