Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sri Lanka - Kandy - eye candy in Kandy!

Our last stop was Kandy. Home of the Temple of the Relic of the Tooth. If you care to google you'll see the Buddha's teeth are housed far and wide around our planet. Fact or fiction - does it matter?

On route to Kandy we found more road side delicacies to keep us replete. First stop curds.  Curds is essentially yogurt but these were made with buffalo milk which apparently makes them special - they were good.

The curds were served with some sort of coconut/palm syrup which was seriously yummy. A good mid-morning snack.

We then stopped for lunch at a road side buffet inhabited by lots of locals. By this time Harsha had worked out that we preferred stopping at this sort of joint than western hotels for our lunch breaks when on the road. After seeing the kitchen where this meal was cooked I should never whine (but I'm sure I will) about my Indian kitchen again. There was a buffet of two types of rice and at least 5 or 6 different curries (veg and non veg). This was the cook in action and her kitchen.

In Kandy we stayed at the river side Mahaweli Hotel. We knew that the Pakistani cricket team were touring Sri Lanka but I had checked and saw there were only five day internationals while we were in Sri Lanka and as we couldn't spare five days thought no more about it. Sitting by the pool, suddenly a bunch of guys in the grey and yellow of Pakistan stripped to their swim shorts and started to play water volleyball. The Pakistani cricket team - very nice - my eye candy in Kandy! Soon followed by the Sri Lankan team - Wills was excited to see Dilshan and Sangakarra in the flesh. We were very restrained and didn't take any pics - I always feel so sorry for these guys to constantly be 'on show'. The guys all seemed really down to earth, happily eating breakfast in the same dining room and at the same buffet as everyone else, smiling to anyone who smiled at them. Two opposing teams, no conflict. Can you imagine any of the premiership teams and their WAGS in the same hotel, mixing with the likes of us. Can't behave civilly on the pitch for an hour and a half....we'd have witnessed fisticuffs and racial insults.....

Anyway back to the tooth relic! There is long story behind the tooth's eventual arrival in Sri Lanka (smuggled in someone's hair) and its many subsequent adventures (hidden from the dastardly British) but it is now safe and a pilgrimage point for many Buddhists. They bring flowers, and especially the lotus flower. Flowers are a symbol of the transitory nature of life, from a bud, to full bloom to shriveling and dying. Not a pleasant thought, but the way it is!

The temples were beautifully carved and decorated:
 I loved the little Buddha's on these stairs
And of course there wasn't a shortage of Buddha's round every corner:

We didn't get to see the tooth, which is kept safely hidden away behind locked doors but the temple was very impressive. As the five day test got underway we moved homewards!

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