Trip Start Jul 02, 2008
Trip End Jun 19, 2009

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween and Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

Kandy is a lovely town in the hill country.  I stayed at Sharon Inn, an incredible home with attached rooms for rent, on top of a hill looking down into Kandy.  The owners are a German-Sri Lankan couple. 

The first day I walked around town visiting the Buddhist devales, which are places of worship.

The following day I took a tuk-tuk (autorickshaw in India) to the Botanic Gardens, about 6 km from Kandy, and the largest botanic gardens in Sri Lanka.  They cover 150 acres and are absolutely beautiful. 

Then I had the driver take me to the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, about an hour west of Kandy.  There are about 60 abandoned or orphaned elephants here.  Not the most pleasant thing to see, huge animals confined to an area, but I guess they are brought here because they can't survive in the wild on their own.  The daily bathing was really cool to watch.  All the elephants are brought across the street to a river to bathe.  Most of them just stood there in the water, but some of them sat down or even layed down in the water.  It would have been so much cooler to watch if this was in the wild.  One of the elephant keepers waved me down so I can help bathe one of the elephants, for a tip of course.  I splashed some water on him/her a few times and he/she decided to walk off.  Oh well.

One night I went to a Kandyan dance performance.  It was an hour long show and the dancers did about 8 different traditional Sri Lankan dances in various costumes.

After the show I went next door to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic for the nightly puja (blessing) ceremony.  Inside a room or shrine there is a  gold  casket shaped like a dagoba which houses a tooth from the Buddha.  Supposedly the tooth was snatched from the flames of the Buddha's cremation and was  smuggled to Sri Lanka during the 4th Century AD.  During the puja ceremony the shrine is opened and you can walk past and take a quick peek at the gold casket where the tooth sits safely inside. The casket isn't opened for anyone and no pics are allowed.

My next destination is north a few hours towards the ancient cities of Sri Lanka.  Hope you are well. 


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