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Sri Lankan Sojourn: Kandy and Dambulla

27 Nov

So from part 1 here you know we were cruising on a Sri Lankan highway at a luxurious 40kmh and finally reached Kandy at around 10 pm in the night. From there began our search for the bed and breakfast we were put up in.

Now how we ended up booking a B&B is a different story. As 3 girls planning a trip we knew where to shop but left out the tiny details like where we will sleep. A week before we were to leave we frantically started booking hotels after reading endless reviews on Tripadvisor. What we had underestimated was SL tourism was truly back on track and all hotels in all the locations we were planning to visit were over booked. So we did with whatever we got.

In Kandy that meant a B&B. Filled with foreign backpackers we really were an exception there. It was quite the no-frills-basic-acco and I was quite okay with it except for the bathroom. It was the size of a cupboard. To take a shower you could either stand on the pot or the washbasin.

Its for a single night we consoled ourselves and planned to have dinner and crash.

Except at 10PM every single restaurant in Kandy had shut down. Except Hotel Chutie (no kidding, that was the name). After eating the overpriced leftovers we felt the owners really needed to correct the spelling and fix the missing y.

We went back to the B&B, pulled the mosquito nets over our heads and called it a day.

Morning in Kandy from Expeditor Inn's rooftop

The breakfast the next day was sumptuous. I had the best papaya in my life there. The lady in charge asked us how long we were there.

Her: “A month?”

Us: ” No its a short trip, not a month”

Her: “2 weeks huh?”

Us:” Errr…4 days..”

Her: “Ohh, you better hurry then.”

From there we left to see the Kandy Botanical garden. Lets just say visit Lal Bagh the next time I have an urge to connect with nature.

 

1.2 million people come every year to see these. I am saving you the trouble, you can thank me later

From there we left for the the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The Temple of the Tooth is the place that houses the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom, it is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhist around the world.

Kandy Perahera, the pageant of the temple of tooth is held either in July or August each year to parade the golden caskets is a must see itinerary if one is visiting Sri Lanka during these months. The final night procession is the most spectacular event of the country. More than 50 elephants parade the city accompanied by the drummers, dancers and chieftains.

Again we chose a Sunday to visit and it was nearly impossible to see anything as crowds thronged the temple. So we took our customary tourist photo and came back.

 

This is the new temple complex-only tourists could be spotted here

From here we made our way to Dambulla-70kms from Kandy.

On the way we stopped at a Spice Garden. Piece of advice from those who have been swindled-dont bother with the tour. I have come back with Ayurvedic lotions and potions  for triple the price than what would be available in Kerala. We did have an authentic SL lunch which was terrific.

At Dambulla the majestic Golden temple greeted us.

 

The Golden temple at Dambulla

But what we wanted to see were the Rock temples. This is a UNESCO world heritage site and not without reason.

It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Lord Buddha and his life. There are total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddesses. The latter include two statues of Hindu gods, the god Vishnu and the god Ganesh. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square meters. Depictions on the walls of the caves include the temptation by the demon Mara, and Buddha’s first sermon.

But first the climb. When someone as healthy and fit as your truly decided to climb 160m there are times when you feel that you might never reach the top and would attain nirvana from this life at least midway. But you know what I persisted and after what seemed an eternity for my lungs and side stitiches I reached the rock temples.

 

Inside the caves-frescoes on cieling and statues
Pictures dont do justice to the calmness and serenity you feel inside

The climb down was easier what with gravity being on my side.

The rock temples were beautiful and totally worth the climb. Its astounding to think all this was built without the help of modern technology.

We made way to Sigriya for the night.

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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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