The Kandyan Cultural Show

Table of Contents

Sri Lankan musical culture

Theirs is a distinctive local musical culture in Sri Lanka, which is best reflected in the hill country city of Kandy. Sri Lankan traditional music and dance have a blend of Indian and indigenous traditions that celebrate the folklore of Sri Lanka. Featuring dancing, drums, fluting, and songs, Sri Lankan traditional dancing is often a raucous performance, however, in Sri Lankan traditional dancing audience participation is not encouraged. There are many places in the city of Kandy, where you can witness authentic Kandyan dancing performances, where musicians turn up spontaneously. city of Kandy is considered the cultural hub of Sri Lanka, where most Sri Lankan traditional and cultural events take place. Kandy also hosts a large number of interesting tourist attractions that have cultural, historical and natural importance. Therefore, Kandy is a part of most Sri Lanka tour itineraries. Usually, the travellers stay about 2 days in the city during their Sri Lanka trip in order to visit interesting places around Kandy. If you have not booked a Sri Lanka sightseeing tour yet, you can book a Sri Lanka tour with a local tour operator such as Seerendipity tours. These tour operators offer Sri Lanka day tours, Sri Lanka 2-day trips and many other interesting trips for travellers that include Kandy.

Kandyan arts and crafts

The Arts and crafts are an integral part of the Kandyan kingdom. It is still playing a major role in the life of the Sri Lankan people. The arts and crafts of Sri Lanka are closely connected with Sri Lanka’s ancient cultural heritage. Traditional Sri Lankan crafts are vital industries in many parts of the island that include wood carving, mask making, drum making, mat weaving, handlooms, lac-work, rush and read products etc. Kandy, where the Kandyan cultural show takes place considered one of the best places to buy traditional crafts in Sri Lanka due to the large concentration of souvenir shops. A large number of families in Kandy are actively engaged in traditional arts and crafts. Some families are mastering the traditional dancing, while some families master the music while some families are engaged in producing souvenirs, jewellery, masks etc.

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What is the Kandyan Cultural Show?

The Kandyan cultural show is an electrifying live cultural show that showcases traditional dance and musical performances, the show takes place every evening in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. The Kandy cultural show is an important draw of Kandy, which attracts a large number of travellers every day. Kandyan cultural show is an in-house performance hosted in several places near the tooth relic temple.

Beautifully dressed young dancers such as Melika, with her head as still as a sprinter’s, and flowers decorate hair and peacock-coloured dress, share a public camaraderie on stage with fellow dancers and musicians. No singers take part in the performance and musicians make all magic. These snake charmers make the most appropriate rhythm for each dance and make dancers move their heads, hands, and legs sometimes making the dances swirl in the air.

The delicacy of the hands and mesmerizing quickness of the feet, the overwrought facial expressions, and rapid shifts in tempo produce a performance in which the distance between ecstasy and agony is barely discernible. The Kandyan cultural performance can be expensive but come with a guarantee of professional performers.

  • Lake club Kandyan cultural show
  • Redcross Kandyan cultural performance
  • YMBA cultural performance

Kandy (14 best places to visit in Kandy) is the most visited city in the central triangle of Sri Lanka. Kandy has a unique and fascinating blend of culture, history, customs, and traditions of the Sinhalese people. There are many places in Kandy with cultural and historical value. Kandy is the home of the most valuable object of Sri Lankan Buddhists, the left eye tooth of Buddha. The left eye tooth of Buddha is believed to be resting in the tooth relic temple of Kandy.

Esala ceremony is undoubtedly the most important and colourful cultural event in Kandy that evolved around the tooth relic. But it can be witnessed only once every year in the month of July/August. So if you plan your Sri Lanka tour in the month of August, find out when this gorgeous pageant takes place.

Kandyan cultural show is also a similar event, though it is not in grandeur scale-like Esala ceremony. Kandyan cultural show is the best alternative to experience the typical music and dancing performed in the Esala ceremony for people who are not able to show up in Kandy, during the Kandyan Esala ceremony.

Dancing and music performed at the Kandyan cultural show have a lot of similarities to the music and dances performed at the Esala ceremony. Unlike the Esala ceremony, which lasts only many hours at night, Kandyan cultural show lasts only about 1 hour.

There are several places (auditoriums) in Kandy, where the cultural show is organized. All of the places are within easy reach of Kandy city. A large number of people gathered to witness the cultural show and many foreigners are also visit the event. All these places are just walking distance away from the tooth relic temple.

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What are the main segments of Kandyan cultural performance

The Kandyan cultural performance is consisting of a few segments as below. Each segment is a different performance with different music carried out either by male dancers, female dancers, or both parties.

  • Magul Bera (Ceremonial Drum) the beginning of the Kandyan cultural show
  • Puja Netuma
  • Raban
  • Mayura Netuma
  • Pantheru Natuma
  • Gini Sisila
  • Ves Natuma

The followings are the proceedings of the Kandyan cultural show.

Magul Bera (Ceremonial Drum) the beginning of the Kandyan cultural show

The blowing of the conch shell is the traditional invocation at the commencement of any function and the drums are an integral part of the ritual. According to the customs of Sinhalese usually, the performance of ritual music is done in order to invoke the blessings of deities.

Puja Netuma

Beautifully dressed girls carrying oil lamps are making an offering to God. Puja natuma is usually participated by several dancers and they move their hands and foot rhythmically, according to the background music.


Raban is a type of drum that is used very often in traditional folk dance. The drum being used here is called Ath rabana or hand Rabana and it is about one foot in diameter. Men and women are both played and welded in a variety of forms in the dance. Raban playing is accompanied by music and singing too.

Mayura Netuma

Mayura Natuma or peacock dance a group of girls depicts the graceful movement of the peacock. Peacock is the official transporter of God Kataragama, the war God of Sri Lanka.

Pantheru Natuma

The name of the dance originated from the musical instrument used, the panther, which has some similarities to Tambourine. Pantheru is accompanied by drums. The dancers depict the Sinhalese warriors on their way to the battle. Only the highly skilled dancers can perform the Panthers perfectly and it required a great deal of dedication and practice to be a successful pantheru dancer.

Gini Sisila

The type of fire dancing is unique to southern Sri Lanka.

Ves Natuma

One of the popular dances on the island and popular in the low country as well as in the up country. Unlike low-country dancing, this is an important form of dance in Kandyan dancing and the dress of Ves natuma is the traditional attire of Kandyan dancers. The dress of Ves natuma is comprised of 64 ornaments.  It takes many years of rigorous training before one qualifies to wear the traditional dancing costume.