The last of my excursions in Sri Lanka brings me to the end of my travels posts. The third place we visited was a full day in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital. There was so much to see and do and the day was a long one.
We started in the Botanical gardens. The collections of plants here is astounding. It sounds silly but I didn’t know so many different species of bamboo exist, yet I was faced with walls of bamboo towering over me while standing next to it I could examine a delicate web of the tiniest shoots and leaves imaginable. The orchid house was particularly lovely and something of a macro photography lover’s dream…
We also visited the huge Buddah on the Hill, from where we had some beautiful views of the city.
After lunch, we visited the incredibly sacred Temple of the Tooth. The we had to leave our shoes before we went in and paddled across the rain soaked marble to the entrance. By the door they sold beautiful baskets of flowers for offering.
As soon as you we got inside, we were overwhelmed by the deep sense of dedication from many of those surrounding us. The building reminded me of playing Tomb Raider when I was younger; it had that same sense of something ancient and sacred that had stood unchanged for centuries. Of course, it had changed. On the walls were re-made tapestries next to the originals which had been painstakingly pieced together after the bomb. Near the top of the building was a museum with clothes from old emperors as well as cabinets full of the bountiful offerings the temple had received over the years. On the walls, photographs told the story of the 1998 bomb attack. (You can read more about that here if you’re interested). The place held a certain serenity and though it was not of religious significance to me, the emotion flowing through the place and the people inside it made it one of the most memorable places on the trip.
The day ended with a traditional Kandian cultural show. It was a wonderful, vibrant thing to watch. Young dancers in traditional costume performed to traditional music. The fire dance was breathtaking and the evening closed with hot coal walking. In truth, it was an indescribable experience, but definitely a spectacular close to a fantastic trip.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful, confusing, friendly and fantastic country. The trip is one I will probably remember for the rest of my life and if I ever get the chance to go back, I will jump at it. Don’t go for the ultimate tourist experience; you will see the inside of hotels. Travel the country with an open mind and an open heart and don’t be afraid to get a bit sweaty and grimy along the way!