Monday, March 22, 2010

Meeting Religious Royalty in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy, Sri Lanka - Kandy is Sri Lanka's most popular city, not Colombo. It is 116 kilometers northeast of Colombo, and 138 kilometers south of Anuradhapura. I knew I had to spend more time here.
The city is regarded by many as "the most beautiful", and though it sure is a charming city - with a historically intriguing lake as its centerpiece and dreamy hills rising like a fortress - I wouldn't call it "most beautiful".
I took an express bus (read: AC) that took 3 hours to reach Kandy's bus station. It was fairly cheap (265 rupees) and relatively comfortable. In fact, I slept during most of the trip's duration. Finding my intended hotel was a different story altogether. It is located on the Rajaphilia Mawatha road up the hill, overlooking the serene lake.
Later in the day, I met the head monk of the congregation that sees through the country's most popular temple - the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The monk is so old - 92 years - and could hardly see because of cataract, but he gave in to see me. Now how important is he? Sri Lanka's President visits him then proceeds to the Temple of the Tooth Relic to seek guidance and blessing. Parang novena sa Quiapo or Baclaran! The Head Monk is Sri Lanka's version of Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama. Our conversation was facilitated by an interpreter since he doesn't speak english. He gifted me with a white pool of string that I shall wear like a necklace to bless not just to myself and my travels, but my whole family as well! Now who wouldn't want that? As I was leaving, he took my palm and read me my future - which was kinda embarassing. I didn't know buddhist monks could do that? To cap the meeting, I took a photo of him - and I noticed a calendar on his wall that had his photo. Boy, this can't be fake, I thought!
By 7:15PM, I walked the grounds of the Temple of theTooth Relic. Knowing fully well how significant this place is to Sri Lankan buddhists (they have to be able to make a pilgrimage to the temple at least once in their lifetime), I paid my exorbitant entrance fee of 1,000 rupees, then witnessed as the chamber that contains Buddha's tooth relic is opened, albeit you don't really see the tooth! How was it? I'll tell you once I get to feature the place in pictures... soon!
This is the Eye in the Sky! Do you want Kandy?

Kandy Lake has an intriguing history.

Temple of the Tooth


Trotter said...

Hi Eye! This time I'm envious... ;) Lovely place, it looks...
Now, did you meet the Silva(s)? :)

Blogtrotter 2 has landed in Mexico. Enjoy and have a great week!!

eye in the sky said...

It is lovely, Trotter. I even saw a signage there that says "Trotter Inn" but I was on a bus and didn't have enough time to take out my cam. Would have been perfect for you! ;->

And who are the Silvas????!!!! i wonder.