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Kandy and the Sacred Tooth

SRI LANKA | Friday, 2 May 2014 | Views [1929]

Temple of the Sacred Tooth, Kandy

Temple of the Sacred Tooth, Kandy

KANDY IS THE BUDDHIST HEART OF SRI LANKA.  And the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, is the center of Kandy.  No, it isn’t the next Indiana Jones sequel, but a shrine containing a tooth of the Buddha, snatched by a brave soul from the dying embers of Buddha’s funeral pyre.  Each year in the month of Esala (in July or August) Kandy booms with the Esala Perahera, a celebration featuring thousands of dancers, drummers and a host of elephants on hand to honor the sacred relic.


   Blood sucker

Kandy is more sedate in May, somewhat reminiscent of Hanoi.  We are staying away from the noise and exhaust fumes, high on the hill across the lake from the tooth at the Sharon Inn, only a $2 tuk-tuk ride to almost anywhere.  As always Connie is on the lookout for new birds and the Uda Wattakelle Forest Sanctuary seemed like the ideal place to start.  It is an absolutely breath-taking piece of jungle, full of birdsong and, we imagine, many bird species.  But jungle birding isn’t easy.  Hearing a bird is no guarantee you will see it in the thick foliage.  While you are looking you might get klonked on the noggin with a falling ten-pound jackfruit; we heard many a squishy “thump” yesterday.  If the jackfruit don’t get you the leeches may drain you dry.  I removed a dozen or so and still missed some.  When they have sucked their fill and let go, the anti-coagulant they inject makes you bleed like a hemophiliac.


   Wedding photos

Today we tried the botanic gardens, a much more genteel location.  Lonely Planet lists it as an afterthought but we found it to be one of the best gardens we have ever visited.  The locals feel the same way; several wedding parties were out for photos.  The birds were plentiful, although familiar, but they couldn’t compete with the thousands of fruit bats, or flying foxes, soaring and screeching and hanging from the trees.



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