After Pinnawala we went to Kandy, the city famous for having the 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 its a vibrant commercial city today. The distance from Colombo to Kandy is 115 Kms 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.
Our first stop in Kandy was the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is one of the most sacred places of worship for Buddhist and is believed to house the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.
Due to recently ended civil war in Sri Lanka, the entry to the temple is strictly regulated and security screened. The temple is in a serene setting but the security arrangements are reminder to the every day struggle of people of Sri Lanka.
We wisely booked a private guide (there are many of them in front of the temple and they charge just few hundred Sri Lankan Rupee) who was a man in sixties with white hair and lot of experience.
The Guide who showed us the place not only explained the temple, history and significance but also gave us unsolicited advice on importance of Meditation in every day 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 first four letter (ABCD) – the answer is 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).
Few minutes in to the garden, my wife walking few metres ahead of myself & son suddenly screamed and stopped on 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 snake head in the first quadrant (top left). Needless to say my wife was mad at me for my insensitivity on her safety, which to my defence was never in doubt. Myself and Son had spotted that the snake was nowhere near to harm her.
The Royal Botanic Garden has 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 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.
Also published on Medium.