Last night the volunteers went to the big perahera in Colombo, starring our very own Madhu and Kandula. Kandula and Roshan had left two days earlier to get there on foot and Madhu left in a truck early on the morning with Sanjeewa.
It was a beautiful warm, balmy evening and the Temple on the lake looked stunning all lit up and surrounded by families having fun in swan boats. We met the vet with his students and two volunteers visiting from Australia, he told us that there was approximately 30 elephants in this evenings parade. The streets and pavements were full of people waiting for the main event, they must have got there early!
We went in search of a good spot (and some food!) and ended up circling the lake where we met the performers all lined up waiting to begin, they look fantastic in their bright sparkly costumes and were already dancing, they had endless energy and even the children involved boogied all night! We found a spot near the beginning of the parade and close to the most important ‘maligawa’ tusker who is charged with carrying the tooth relic, He was adorned in a beautiful peacock theme costume.
Madhu and Kandula were near the front of the parade and each other all dressed up their finery, the mahouts scrubbed up alright too! They spotted the volunteers and came over to give us a wave and say hello! Madhu was enjoying the music and showing off by dancing along as many of the elephants do.
The parade circled the lake so we snuck behind the crowds so that we could catch up and see it again. The fire dancers and other performers are incredible and the whole atmosphere and noise is great, a Perahera really is a must see event in Sri Lanka!