The Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha which is an object of great veneration by Buddhists is housed at the Dalada Maligawa, Kandy in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Buddhists that the blessings of the Sacred Tooth Relic has protected this country for the past 2500 years. The Sacred Tooth Relic was shifted to wherever the kingdoms shifted, from Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Kotte, Gampola and finally to Kandy with much reverence.
The Sacred Tooth Relic, which is the Buddha’s left canine was brought here during the reign of King Kithsiri Meghawana (301-328 B.C.) by Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala from the Kingdom of Kalinga, India. Since then it was preciously protected and guarded inside a special shrine in the Royal Palace and honoured as the palladium of kings. The possessor of the Sacred Tooth Relic, it was believed, had the right to rule the country.
The religious services in connection with it were conducted without any break even after the signing of the Kandyan Convention in 1815, and it is being continued under the leadership of its three chief custodians, the Most Venerable Mahanayakes of the two Chapters of Malwatta and Asgiriya, and the Diyawadana Nilame in whose charge it has been placed.
The Sacred Tooth Relic and the palladium of kings were protected and worshiped by the Sinhalese kings as well as by the Sinhalese Buddhist masses. Much ritual came to be centered around its worship. It was also believed that when these services were to be neglected or less care taken of the kingdom and the people would go through difficula times.