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a day exploring the city

Just like yesterday, today we had an early wake up call and to tell you the truth, this hurted a bit, especially when you know I only had a few hours of sleep, but on the other hand, we were only here for one more day in Kandy, so we had to make the most of it. 

After an early breakfast, our little group went on foot to the most known sight here in the city, the Temple of the Tooth, which holds the sacred relic of the tooth of Buddha. Needless to say, we didn't want to miss out on this one.

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Three times a day, more particularly at dawn, at noon and in the evening, monks perform rituals in the inner chamber of the temple and exactly at these times, believers and tourists have a chance to see the tooth during this "puja". Kept in a heavily guarded room, the tooth is there for everyone to see but the downside of it all, it is kept in a gold casked shaped like a dagaba or stupa. Our guide Marie-José even told us there was not one, but six stupas of which the caskets diminish in size.

As we arrived at the scene, I was surprised to see how many people were already up and about at this early hour. It seems that this must be indeed an important place, if people are standing in a queue even at these early hours.

Once we got rid of our shoes, Marie-José and Samy guided us through the Royal Palace, the Audience Hall and even the Rajah Tusker Hall, where you can find the remains of the infamous elephant who carried the relic during important festivals.

From outside the temple, it was back inside again, where we had to wait for a few more minutes until suddenly we heard a lot of noice and saw some monks coming and going. From that moment on it was like someone else had taken over my body coz one moment we were standing still at the entrance of the temple and another moment we were dragged along a few stairs into the sacred room and although I tried to take a picture of this relic, there were just so many people pulling and dragging me to see the relic that I was glad to be out of there.

It was just so unreal, it all happened so fast and after a quick visit to the Palm Leaf Book Library, we were back at the exit in no time. Did this really happened. I guess it must have been, but just like a few others I was more than overwhelmed by the whole situtation.

As we were leaving the premisses of this infamous relic, we just had to wait a little while for our bus to show up coz unfortunately Samy told us we had to visit one more obligatory stop and this last one was going to be a jewelry shop.

Tourist trap it is and as we walked inside the shop about half an hour later, we first got a rather tedious explanation of all the gems which could be found here in Sri Lanka. Than it was onwards to the workshop, which was kind of interesting, but we couldn't stay coz we needed to be in the shop itself, were again a dozen of staff awaited us. They acted like hawks do when they see a prey. You couldn't look at a thing without a few men following your every move and everything was beautiful and amazing, cheap and real. Needless to say, we were glad to be out of there about half an hour later and I guess it was more than obvious when I say that nothing was bought at this place.

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Luckily our trusty bus and busboys awaited us and it felt more than good when we finally left that place and went onwards to another famous sightseeing here in Kandy, the Royal Botanical Gardens, which are situated a few kilometers out of the downtown area.

After Marie-José scored us some tickets, we went inside and walked for a little while alongside loads of trees and plants of which Samy told us more about. Although this was but a short visit, it was an enjoyable one and even lunch at the Greenhouse was well worth it.

Back outside again, we were picked up by our bus and this afternoon we were going to be all on our own.

We had the afternoon all to ourselves and me and Tania made the most of it, walking alongside the infamous Kandy lake till we saw an ice cream vendor, went for a delicious frozen popsicle and got our mind set an doing a bit of windowshopping as well.

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First item on our agenda was a search for a pharmacist. Tania till this day still had a lot of trouble with her cold and her coughing even got worse. It scared us a bit and we wanted to get some cough syrup hoping that things progress in a positive direction. Finding one, wasn't that difficult, explaning what we wanted was something entirely different but with a bit of patience we scored ourselves some syrup and sadly enough, things were now in the hands of ... Buddha ???

Back on main street again, we saw nothing else but shops, this was paradise for shoppers after all and about a few hours later we had smiles on our faces and more than enough goodies in our bags. As we walked through several streets, we found a massage parlour and while Tania went for a relaxing facial, I decided to do some more shopping for my little nieces and about an hour later we met up with each other again.

During our walk through the streets of Kandy, we saw a small Hindu sanctuary and went inside to have a look and as the sun was setting, we slowly walked back to our hotel where we arrived about a few hours later, ready to have dinner with the rest of the group.

Unlike yesterday, this time we decided not to make it too late, but as we had drinks with a couple of our group, me and Tania somehow managed to go to sleep way after midnight again ... that's holiday for you!

Posted by Ils1976 01:22 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged landscapes people parties night temples food road_trip nature monument culture religion bus native town shopping lake walk friends fun music road tour sightseeing sights asia drinks tipsy musea

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Comments

It was an awful feeling being accompanied by those hawks at the shop...I also do a lot of shopping abroad for friends and relatives.

by Vic_IV

Sadly enough, we all have to undergo those tourist traps. It is sad that they don't let you relax, people are more quickly to buy when left alone, or maybe that's just a Belgian thing.

by Ils1976

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