Royal Kandy

March 17, 2014 | Sri Lanka

kandyan dancers in Sri Lanka

Resplendent in red and white costume that is centuries old, Kandyan dance is an important part of the culture of the ancient kingdom. Originally aligned to the Temple of the Tooth, the dance’s origins lie in an exorcism ritual originally performed by Indian Shamans.

According to legend, the Indian shamans came to the island upon the request of a king who was suffering from a mysterious illness. The king was said to be suffering from a recurring dream in which a leopard was directing its tongue towards the king, believed to be as a black magic of “Kuweni” the first wife of the king “Vijaya”. After the performance of the Kohomba Kankariya the illness vanished, and many natives adopted the dance.

This costume is known as the “Ves”. Only males are allowed to wear the headdress that gives the illusion of height.

Royal Kandyan dancers are often at Talalla Retreat during times of celebration such as New Year and weddings. The sounds of their pounding drums and their electric energy can be heard throughout the grounds.

Image courtesy of D. Jones Photography and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Back to Blog