Today we took the time to travel out to the Dam by car. It's about 20km south of Kandy. This feat of engineering was completed in the late 70's and the museum on the south side is located high above the dam giving a wonderful vista of the dam, lake and topography. The drive out takes you through villages which are less commercial. We saw waterfalls, brick making, logging, Hindu temples, a funeral and unspoilt jungle areas where cultivation is difficult. The road is excellent for much of the route having been upgraded during the building works and since. The dam museum is secured by guards in a well maintained garden and the photostops and vews are fantastic as you drive there and on arrival. It has a decaying display of photos which badly need restoration but they show how important the dam has been to power generation and irrigation in the region. It's sleepy in arrival, it looked like we were the first people to visit in days. The conveniences and facilities were neglected so don't expect too much on that front. Donation only no charge to enter.
I had never been to a spice garden in the whole year and a half of being in Sri Lanka, so when I asked Toga to take me only the best would do for me. We visited Kandyan Spice Grove and I found it really interesting at the end of the session you receive a leaflet of all the various uses of herbs and natural plants.
Carolyn and myself got a really nice massage at the end of the product discussion although perhaps I would suggest to the ladies to wear their bikinis.
On the surface this is a wood carving centre and store. But in reality it is a rip off. They show you the wood carving process which is interesting but do not buy anything from this store as the prices are hugely inflated. For example the price for one item was 12800 rupees. What they do is they then discount hugely so you think you are getting a good price. I haggled to 5000 rupees. Once I had made my purchase I was then told by a local the real price should have been 2000-2500 rupees. It's a scam and the sales people are well practised. Tour guides and tuk tuk drivers take unsuspecting tourists here to rip them off and get huge commissions - up to 50% which means at best you will be paying double the price you should pay. When I confronted them about this scam after I found out they didn't reply to me. Avoid this place like the plague and their other branch in Sigiriya.
At the outskirts of Kandy town, youwill find this unique Buddhist temple built of stone, brick, and lime plaster. Lankatilaka Temple was first built in 1344 during the rein of King Buvanekabahu IV. This temple is built on a large, uneven outcropping, forcing the builders to construct off an uneven foundation, however the scenerey behind makes for a lovely backdrop. Originally, the temple was built in four stories and rose some 25 meters. Now, the temple only has a section of the first floor covered with a tiled wooden roof. The "dragon arch" main entrance, which faces east, is accessed from a long stone stairway leading from the village at the base of the rock. The large white Stupa outside is also wonderful and had a very calming effect on us. A small plac, but we easily spent a couple of hours soaking in the atmosphere.
Outside the entrance are some souvenier shops that are nice. We particularly recommend the wooden crafts store outside where you can buy some Srilankan artifacts & masks at a very good price.
Gadaladeniya Temple is located at Pilimathalawa, Kandy. It is located on a small hilltop and is easily accessible by car. Gadaladeniaya Temple was build by king Wickramabahu in 1344 during the Gampola Kingdom time. The temple architecture seems similar to what we see in South of India, there are smaller temples within the complex. The frescoes and paintings within are wonderful, while they retain the charm that ancient buildings have. When we visited there were hardly any ther folks here, striking a contrast tot the tooth relic temple. We felt really at peace here and loved the ambience
The botanical garden in Kandy is quite good, but the entrance fee is high at SLR 1500 pp. The orchid garden is a small green house at one corner, the palm grove/walk is nice (see pic). We spent quite a bit of our time around the pond- it housed many monitor lizards and birds including the paradise fly catcher. All in all a good 2-3 hours trip, but expect nothing spectacular and the restaurant within has a decent menu for lunch.
Located in Pinawella ( On the way to kandy ).. you can see how they take care of the elephants here..
every day at 8:30 and 10 :30 am , they take the elephants to the close river for a bath... try not to miss that !
tickets are 2000 Rbs for foreigners and 100 only for locals.... buy your ticket yourself...
The night saw us at one of the highest roads in Kandy above the lake for a night view of the famous city from the Viewpoint. It was a fascinating sight to see the city as a carpet of lights spread out in all its splendour. A nearby statue of the Buddha, with a hooded cobra providing shelter, was the perfect backdrop.
As you go round the grounds, you’ll come across the House of Orchids. This is simply a riot of colours and orchids. There is an artificial lake with water plants in the centre of the lake. Near it stands a white circular dome-like structure commemorating one of the most famous Superintendents of the Park, George Gardener (1844-1849).
Our next stop was the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya (pera=guava; deniya=plain) locality, known for its huge open spaces, fantastic collection of orchids, palm tree-lined roads, spices and medicinal plants, truly a walkers' paradise. It dates back to 1371 when King Wickramabahu III held court at Peradeniya near the Mahaweli river (Great Sandy River). It was formally established in 1843 by the British. You can’t miss the Avenue of Palms. Also, watch out for a tree which may well beat the Leaning Tower of Pisa in its defiance of the laws of gravity. As you go round the grounds, you’ll come across the house of orchids. This is simply a riot of colours and orchids. There is an artificial lake with water plants in the centre of the lake. Near it stands a white circular dome-like structure commemorating one of the most famous Superintendents of the Park, George Gardener (1844-1849).
While returning to town, we stopped at the Kandy War Cemetery of World War II, a place largely forgotten by the normal tourist, where 203 burials had taken place (107 British, 6 Canadians, 23 Indians, 26 Ceylonese, 35 East Africans, 1 French and 3 Italians – as per the plaque). The plaque goes on to add that Ceylon was strategically placed not only owing to the sea route but more importantly, the fall of Singapore. It is a sombre place, well maintained through funds received from the United Kingdom. The tombs are well laid out and a walk through the grounds reveals that quite a few of the fallen soldiers were barely 23 or 24 years old. It truly makes you wonder about the futility of war and the fact that we humans have not yet learnt that in war there are no winners. All are losers.
After you have had your fill of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, exit from where you had parked your vehicle. Just there you will see a wrought-iron fountain, typically British. For a moment, the pedestal on which it stands and the fountain itself may remind you of Picadilly Circus, London. You will find quite a few persons lolling around, using the pedestal as a bench.
At the bottom of the fountain you can read this inscription:
‘Erected by the coffee planters of Ceylon in commemoration of the visit of H.R.H the Prince of Wales to Kandy. December 1875’
The highlight of the evening was the Fire Walking Show. A shallow pit, roughly 7 feet long by 3 feet wide was littered with red-hot charcoal. The artists then walked through this fire pit, unharmed. It was fiery, it was daring, it was thrilling. A bar attached to the hall had raised everybody’s spirit.
To quote from the handout:
“The origin of fire walking can be traced back to the epic story of Rama and Sita. Ravana, the King of Ceylon, had abducted the princess Sita from India. When Rama her husband (an Indian King) regained her, she proved her chastity during her enforced stay with Ravana, by walking on fire barefoot-unhurt. The devotees who perform fire-walking seek the divine blessings of Lord Kataragama and Goddess Pattini before they do so.”
The ‘Dances of Sri Lanka’ is organised by the Kandy Lake Club Dance Ensemble daily at 5.30 pm at 7, Sangamitta Mawatha, Kandy (Off Malabar Street). We went after lunch to book our ticket and to ensure the first row, centre seats. This precaution was worth the effort. As many as 12 different dances of Sri Lanka were presented within a span of one hour, from the Ceremonial Drums to the Peacock Dance, the Devil Dance, the Fire Dance, the Harvest Dance and the Drum Orchestra. Tickets were LKR 500/-
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The next day early morning found us at the entrance to the Sri Dalada Maligawa (The Sacred Temple of Tooth Relic). The temple complex is huge and the setting serene. It is situated 1630 m (5,350 ft) above sea level with the Kandy Lake in front and the Udawatta forest behind it. The golden canopy gifted by the President of Sri Lanka, Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1987, is a little to your left. As you walk towards the main entrance, you will notice the statue of Wariyapola Sumangala with his right first raised and right leg forward, as though leading a revolt. This is the first statue of a monk that I saw sculptured in an aggressive pose. Before the Kandyan Treaty of 1815, he had brought down the British flag and hoisted the Sri Lankan flag.
Next is the monument for Weera Keppetipola. Not to be missed is the beautiful statue of Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala, the pair who brought the Sacred Tooth Relic from the Kingdom of Kalinga, India to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, in 312 BC, during the reign of King Kithsiri Meghavanna (301-328).
For close to 1,540 years, the Sacred Tooth relic (left canine) belonged to the Kings of Sri Lanka who treated the sacred object as their own property with the common man having no access to it. However, owing to foreign invasions and the belief that whoever possessed the Sacred Tooth would rule over the kingdom of Sri Lanka, the sacred object had to be moved from place to place nine times as a safety precaution. From Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Beligal and so on till its final resting place, Kandy. Earlier, this sacred object was in the possession of the Kalinga Kings of India for over 800 years.
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