Kandy is a comely city surrounded by hills and a picturesque lack smack dab in the middle. It is Sri Lanka’s second largest city and it bustles. However a certain amount of calmness exists due to the lovely setting I think.
The main attraction here is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and it is the most important Buddhist site in Sri Lanka. It is purported that an incisor of the Buddha himself is stashed away in a casket which is displayed inside the main temple. No photos are allowed.
Sri Lankan Buddhists believe they must complete at least on pilgrimage to the temple in their lifetime, as worshipping here improves one’s karmic lot immeasurably. It seemed to be especially popular with young couples with infants, but I don’t really understand what the significance of that is.
Like a dolt I wore shorts for the visit to the shrine (Yes, I do know better). I was quickly and sternly informed by security personnel (military perhaps?) at the entrance that I would not be allowed entry in such indecent attire. However an enterprising man hovered nearby and was quick to offer me the beautiful piece of 100% polyester pictured above to cover my gangly legs. At a cost of 1,000 rupees! Now I understand how women feel when they visit a mosque. I threw my newly purchased sarong in the trash upon leaving the temple.
The rest of our day was spent wondering the busy streets shopping and having lunch at the old Queen’s Hotel in the city center. In the late afternoon we took in a performance of “traditional” Kandyan dance. The costumes were elaborate and the moves gyrating. However I sort of felt it was not necessarily traditional but was rather directed at their foreign audience. It was a good way to spend an hour though.