Temple of the Tooth

Trip Start Dec 01, 1992
Trip End Jun 01, 1993

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Friday, February 19, 1993

We walked the fair distance into Kandy and ate breakfast at a pleasant café called the Elephant House.

We now had an amusing toy for Jai to play with, an elasticated plastic disc launcher, which excited quite some attention from a crowd of loitering men.
One plastic disc went sailing over the post office roof, never to be seen again, and another went into a yard behind the post office. The men were excited enough to try and help us get the last one back. They even got someone to open up the yard so we could retrieve it.

We came upon a Buddhist book shop and acquired little pamphlets from there, then found places to buy cheese and tofu.
While eating soya yoghurt ice cream at the Kandy Soya Centre we met an English man who had been living a long time in Kandy. He couldn't make up his mind, he told us, whether to marry his Sri Lankan girlfriend, or whether to go and join an ashram in India.
If he married in Sri Lanka his wife would expect him to work hard to provide for a comfortable material existence, not something he felt an inclination for. If he went to ashram he could escape all that.

We went to visit Kandy's renowned attraction, the Temple of the Tooth.
By walking straight in with the locals we avoided the higher tourist fee.
The temple was such a grand place and its special claim was that one of the Buddha's teeth was kept there.
Former Portugese colonists, had in their religious fervour, taken the tooth away and destroyed it, though the monks claimed the tooth they had taken away was but a copy and that they still safely had the original.
The painting we now saw of the tooth showed it as being very large, huge even, so either the Buddha had the physique of a monster or the monks had been duped and been given a tooth from some big animal.

We walked back to our lodgings and chatted with the owners.
Two Dutch friends of theirs arrived, the husband being a big business man who exported plant cuttings. He had just bought a big teak plantation in the country. In his former travelling days he had nearly died in the holy Indian town of Mathura, firstly from a severe road accident and secondly from serious food poisoning.

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