Exploring the Town of Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy Makes You Dandy

Our first stop in Sri Lanka was Kandy: the Buddhist and spiritual center of the country.

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka

This beautiful hillside town is most famous for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, where a tooth of Buddha that was taken from his funeral pyre is stored. Pilgrims come from all over the world to pay tribute, though the actual tooth is hidden behind layers of gold cases and only a replica is ever brought out and seen in public.

Still, the entire complex is gorgeous and filled with Buddha statues, carvings, murals and more. We were fortunate enough to take a tour during the day and return that night during a ceremony in which we saw the storage case of the actual tooth. Had we been Buddhist, Sri Lankan and possessed a ticket, we could have prayed inside the storage chamber.

In total we spent three days in Kandy wandering around and exploring the city and the countryside.  One day we were blessed by monks at a monastery. Another evening we took in a dance performance that consisted of a series of three minute snippets of a dozen different types of Sri Lankan dances and ended with fire walking. It was perfect for Carrie and my ADD personalities.

 

Traditional Sri Lankan dance
A dance performance in Kandy

Outside Kandy

For a day trip we left Kandy and visited the botanical gardens, which had far more trees than flowers, and then headed to the hills to see Embekke Devalla. Advertised as being the temple with the most beautiful wood carved pillars in Sri Lanka, it did not disappoint.

What did disappoint was after when we tried to get to two other temples that, according to our guide book, were a short walk through the rice field. What Lonely Planet didn’t specify was which of the dozens of rice fields was the right one. No problem…let’s just ask a local, we though, and the first one we came across spoke great English and sent us on our way. But wait, the path we are walking down doesn’t match what he said. So we asked someone else…and then someone else.

Finally, after walking back and forth over the same path four times and seeing lightning in the distance, we decided to give it up and just head back to Kandy. Good thing we did, as no sooner did we get in a bus than the downpour began.

 

Elephant statues in downtown Kandy
Elephant statues in downtown Kandy