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tooth relic

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Sacred relic of Gautama Buddha preserved in Kandy.Sri Lanka. According to legend it was brought to the island in the 4th century ce hidden in the hair of a princess. At first it was preserved in Anurādhapura and then in a number of different locations. For a short period in 1283 it was carried back to India by an invading army but was brought back again to Sri Lanka by King Parakkamabāhu III. In the 16th century the Portuguese captured what they claimed was the tooth and burnt it in Goa. The real tooth was, however, safe in Sri Lanka.and the temple where it is now kept (see Dalada Maligawa; Temple of the Tooth) was built in 1592. It is regarded as a symbol of faith (śraddhā) and sovereignty and its possession conferred on a king the legitimate right to the throne of the island. This belief seems to have become established at the beginning of the 12th century and continued even after the capture of the Kandyan kingdom and the tooth relic by the British in 1815.

Subjects: Religion

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