So far in this series we have explored south east coast and Nuwareliya hills in central province of Srilanka. In this post lets explore the famous ancient hill capital city Kandy. Must visit place in this city is the famous Sacred tooth relic temple known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. Ideal time to visit the temple is at 6 PM during pooja. So lets explore the city till 6.
Royal Botanic Gardens opens at 7:30 AM and it would take approximately 3-4 hours to walk around . Situated along the Mahaweli river ( longest river in srilanka) with a spread over 147 acres of land was once a royal garden and later in 18th century converted in to botanical garden by British .
Royal garden has orchid house, fernery, spice garden, palm avenues, bamboo collection, the Arboretum, hanging bridge over the river and much more but the thing which captivated my interest was the well maintained great lawns
Breakfast in the canteen nearby great lawn is bit expensive but worth for the view it offers.
It would be a good morning walk for 3 hours but elders can opt for battery car. After walking around great lawn,great circle, check suspension bridge and later head towards palm avenue.
After exploring lot of collections and avenues the walk ends in orchid house which offers the visitor a captivating display of exotic blooms.
Next visit central market square where you can find spices,herbs,art works etc at cheaper price .Kind of daily market situated near bus stand ,a walk around the square will give you an idea about day to day life in the city.
Kandy is famous for jewelry. In every part of the city you can find big jewelry shops with gem museum. Island nation is known for its Ruby, Sapphires, Gems, topaz and kandy is kind of sales head office for all kind of jewelry works. Like Indians are obsessed with gold,in Lanka people are obsessed with Gems and these museums drags lot of tourists as well. Whether you plan to buy or not you can just visit the museum where you can find different gems brought from various parts of Srilanka . I have already explained in detail about Limestone mining process in detail from Ambalangoda mining field in this Mirissa to Bentota post
Post lunch you can spend time at Arts & craft center, city center or lapidaries and head towards Red cross hall near kandy lake around 4 PM. Kandyan Traditional dance show starts at 5 PM. Seats are limited and will be occupied soon, so better go earlier and occupy front seats. it's totally worth the money and don't miss the show.
We need to appreciate the way Lankan govt earns from tourism. Through out the year daily one hour of traditional dance show and believe me its always houseful with ticket price of 1000.
The show starts with blowing of conch shell , followed by various traditional dance Pooja dance, Panteru Natum, Cobra dance, Mask dance, Mayura Wannama, Raban dance, Ves dance and ends with Lankan National anthem.
Being an Indian, can't avoid the thought of how much Indian Tourism can be improved. India is a land of diversity and every state has a traditional dance and other art forms. In Tamilnadu govt can conduct a daily traditional show with native dance and art forms like mayilaatam,oyilaatam, silambatam etc.. It not only increases tourism revenue but also helps native artists to carry on the art legacy.
Post National Anthem show extends for fire dance and fire walking. Front seats are cleared and audience will be asked to move to the stage so that fire show can be performed on the floor.
After the show ,walk along the lake towards Sacred tooth relic temple (Sri Dalada Maligawa ) . Its just a five minute walk from red cross hall. There will be a big queue due to pooja hour and entry fee for foreigners would be around 1000 LKR.
This sacred tooth temple is considered as the holiest Buddhist temple in Srilanka. Lets dig some history behind this sacred tooth temple while we move in queue. Its history dates back to 4th century and revolves around lot of kings from North India,South India,Srilanka,China,Mongolia,Java.. mixed with too much myth legends too .So i would just say the summary and anyway you can find this history in detail in a photo gallery hall inside temple.
After the death of Buddha, his canine teeth and other cremation remains were considered as relics and taken by various kings. His 4th canine tooth was taken by a Kalinga king. Its that 4th tooth is considered to be placed here now in this sacred temple. Lets see how that tooth came to Srilanka as we continue to move.
In early 4th century due to war reasons,the tooth was shifted from Kalinga kingdom in India to Anuradhapura kingdom in Srilanka to safeguard the tooth relic. In 11th century Anuradhapura witnessed frequent invasion war especially from South Indian Chola Kings the tooth relic was moved to Polonnaruwa .
The relic is placed in first floor and lets stand in queue and continue the history . In 13th century Kalinga king invaded Lanka, and later Java king too tried to invade so for safety reasons Buddhist monks took away the relic to central hills. A After the wars when the country faced severe drought ,relic was taken in to procession for seven days ,legend says procession ended the drought and thus relic procession became a festival.
Later a Jaffna King Aryacakravarti with the aid of Pandya king from South India destroyed Lankan kingdoms and he handed over the relic to Pandya King for their aid. Later next Lankan king negotiated peace with Pandyan kings and brought back the relic to Lanka and well preserved it. They even managed to fool great Mongolian King Kublai khan by sending fake relic when he asked to send the relic. Then chinese, followed by Portuguese colonial invasion in 15th century...somehow Lankan kings and monks able to safeguard this relic by shifting to forest & various kingdoms.
Finally in early 16th century it was brought to Kandy by King Vimaladharmasuriya and he constructed this palace to safeguard the relic and successors were able to maintain peace with dutch and there was no major issues for the relic during British Rule as well. Post LTTE bombings in 1998, the temple was fully restored and well safeguarded now. Now that we have seen a little bit of history, we have moved near the holy relic door as well.
This relic is considered as the holiest among buddhists from all nations and they believe that 4th canine tooth of Buddha is placed inside the relic. Whether you are religious are not curiosity over what is special about a tooth and history behind it was sufficient enough for me to visit the temple. You can find a model relic in gallery hall
Note ! never pose for a photo with your back facing Buddha. You will be immediately spotted and scolded. In any Buddhist temples,you should not show your back in front of Buddha other than that no other restrictions to take photo . It would take around 2-3 hours in temple depending up on the crowd and you can walk around other parts of the temple complex later.
See you soon with another travel post .
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