TRAVEL DIARIES . LONG HAUL |
After a good night sleep and a lovely breakfast, I am feeling rested and energised, ready to start a very long journey to Kandy, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka.
Sitting in the car, AC on, a guide book on my lap, Malinda my reliable driver-guide at the wheel, en route to some more unforgettable adventure...
Kandy, I am ready for you!
For those who don't know, Kandy is the second-largest city of Sri Lanka and it is surrounded by the most greenest countryside sceneries, mountains and tea plantations.
There are so many shades of green you cannot believe!
We took the A1 Highway which is popularly known as Kandy Road and started getting away from the city chaos of Colombo. This road winds through villages before making a final ascent to Kandy.
After a few hours drive, there were a drastically change of environment and everything seemed to turn green!
There is a thing though!
Initially I was told the journey from Colombo to Kandy would be around 3 hours drive, depending on traffic!
I am highlighting this, because In reality it took us more than 4 hours drive to reach our first cultural stop of the day, the temple of sacred tooth.
I think Malinda felt shy telling me the whole truth about how "road traffic" looks like in Sri Lanka or he was just so used to it that it was just plain normal for him.
This journey to Kandy seemed endless. The traffic was slow, chaotic and bumpy but it was all worth it.
Eventhough the journey was long, my driver made it enjoyable and as painless as possible. It turned out to be a memorable journey, rich in experiences!
We went through villages, beautiful countryside sceneries and encountered monkeys!
Here's Mr. Monkey-on-a-bike, who seemed to be extremely intrigued when our car approached and pulled at us the funniest face expressions.
the temple of the sacred tooth
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth and the Royal Complex is the number one attraction in Kandy and a World Heritage site.
This golden-roofed temple hosts the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka - a tooth of Buddha brought to the island in the 4th century.
Most Sri Lankans believe they need to visit the temple at least once in their lives to pay homage to the tooth!
Inside can see devotees bending to leave offerings and pray quietly below elaborate Buddhist murals.
It’s a deeply spiritual place, and a quiet reverence floods in each room.
Tips | both females and males need to cover up legs and shoulders. Shoes must be removed before entering the temple but there is nothing to worry about as they seem to have a very organised system and you are guaranteed getting your shoes back!
Before starting this trip, I knew almost nothing about Sri Lanka, except that it was well known for growing tea, and I didn't know that they had a temple famous for housing a tooth of some sort. I also didn't know much about the religion in Sri Lanka, and was surprised to discover that the majority of the population are Buddhists rather than Hindus.
Coconut oil burning ceremony to protect from negative energies - at least this is what this man told me!
Another Tip: You can hire a guide at the entrance, but be aware if anyone starts chatting to you whilst you’re buying your ticket, it is likely that they will be guides. Only allow them to accompany you if you’re willing to pay for their tour afterwards! Some of them are getting offended and pretty aggressively asking you to pay.
If you prefer to go it alone, you should clearly let them know as they would just follow you everywhere and ask for money when you are done with the tour.
This man was lovely though and followed me everywhere, telling me the story of the temple in a perfect english gave me some advice for the remaining of my trip.
Eventhough he didn't ask for it, I generously tipped him and he was so happy, I couldn't help taking a picture of him!
A last look at the gorgeous views from Kandy view point...
Now back on the road ! This time, en route to the Rainforest for a wellness & spiritual retreat at the Santani Wellness Resort Spa.
The Girl Next Door
Sri Lanka to be continued...