After Pinnawala we went to Kandy, the city famous for having The Temple of Tooth Relic. Kandy was a historic capital of Sri Lanka and is in an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level with an artificial lake in the centre giving the city a resort vibe though it’s a vibrant commercial city today. The distance from Colombo to Kandy is 115 km and takes about 2 hours if you don’t stop anywhere. We drove on A1 Highway, which is one of the busiest roads in Sri Lanka, but the road was narrow and reminded me of Kerala roads.
Holy Temple of the Tooth Relic
Our first stop in Kandy was the Holy Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is one of the most sacred places of worship for Buddhists and is believed to house the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.
Due to the recently ended civil war in Sri Lanka, entry to the temple is strictly regulated and security screened. The temple is in a serene setting but the security arrangements are reminders of the everyday struggle of the people of Sri Lanka.
We wisely booked a private guide (there are many of them in front of the temple and they charge just a few hundred Sri Lankan Rupee) who was a man in his sixties with white hair and a lot of experience.
Wisdom from the knowledgable Guide
The Guide who showed us the place not only explained the temple, history and significance but also gave us unsolicited advice on the importance of Meditation in everyday life. The guide also put two questions in English to us, which made me think.
- The first was to name “One Hundred English words which don’t contain the first four-letter” (ABCD) – The answer will be Numbers 1 to 99.
- His second question was to name two areas that Britain introduced in Sri Lanka where Sri Lanka is now better than the colonial power – The answer was Cricket & Tea (he added that Britain also gave them Railways, Schools, Postal Service and others just like in India).
Royal Botanical gardens, Peradeniya
A few minutes into the garden, my wife walking a few metres ahead of me & son suddenly screamed and stopped in her tracks. That’s when we saw a long snake crossing the pathway going into the bushes. My immediate reaction was to take out the camera and shoot the below picture where looking carefully you can spot the snakehead in the first quadrant (top left). Needless to say, my wife was mad at me for my insensitivity to her safety, which to my defence was never in doubt. I and son had spotted that the snake was nowhere near to harm her.
The Royal Botanic Garden has a discount for SAARC residents (the first time I saw any recent mention of SAARC was earlier in the day at Pinnawala Orphanage and now) so being Indian I got a ticket for a few Rupees. Apart from man-made lakes, the garden is adjacent to a river which makes the garden more beautiful. The garden is maintained well & is clean making it enjoyable to visit.