Every day this precious relic attracts white-clad pilgrims, bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani. On the outside, the temple buildings are not magnificent or elaborately decorated, concealing the grandeur within. White with red roofs, they cluster around Kandy Lake (the island in the middle once housed the king's harem). Around the entire complex is a low white stone wall, delicately and simply carved with openings that give a filigree effect. During celebrations, candles are placed in the openings, lighting up the entire front. The relic of the tooth is kept in a two-story inner shrine fronted by two large elephant tusks. The relic rests on a solid gold lotus flower, encased in jewelled caskets that sit on a throne. The temple is joined to the Pattiripuwa (Octagon) tower, built in 1803, that was originally a prison but now houses a collection of palm-leaf manuscripts. The king's palace is also in the temple compound.

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