The Kandyan Cultural Show

The Kandyan Cultural Show

Sri Lankan musical culture

Theirs is a distinctive local musical culture on the island, best reflected in the hill country city of Kandy, 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 performance, where musicians turn up spontaneously.

The Kandyan Cultural Show

The Kandyan cultural show is an electrifying live show that 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 and 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, legs sometimes make the dances to 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.

What are the 3 most popular places for Kandyan cultural show?

  • 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 tradition of Sinhalese people. There are many places in Kandy with cultural and historical value. Kandy is the home for the most valuable object of Sri Lankan Buddhists, the left eye tooth of Buddha. The left eye tooth of Buddha 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.

Kandy esala ceremony, Festivals of Sri Lanka,  kandyan cultural show
Eala ceremony is the most beautiful and important cultural event in Kandy and attracts a large number of tourists to the city

Dancing and music performed at the Kandyan cultural show have a lot of similarities to music and dances performed at the Esala ceremony. Unlike 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 the easy reach of Kandy city. A large number of people is 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.

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 dancer or both parties.

  • Magul Bera (Ceremonial Drum) the beginning of 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 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 used very often in the 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 depict 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 is 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 in the low-country dancing, this is an important form of dance in the Kandyan dancing and the dress of Ves natuma is the traditional attire of Kandyan dancer. 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.

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