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Friday, February 03, 2006

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Tooth

Not a single mine cart in sight so it was back on foot for us down the train tracks to the heart of Kandy and the Temple of the Tooth. The temple holds a sacred tooth said to belong to the Buddha himself that was rescued from the ashes after his cremation. As the years passed the tooth relic became a symbol of Sri Lankan sovereignity and was always housed by the Sinhalese kings.

After two security checks (the temple was bombed by the Tamil Tigers in 1998 causing significant damage) we were allowed to enter the temple grounds and watch the cermony. This, in part, consists of traditional drumming which reverbrates around the whole structure creating an atmospheric mystical trance-like mood.

Unfortunately the tooth itself is no longer on continuous display (not since the 1920s) and only makes a brief appearance for a couple of weeks once every decade or so. Never-the-less there's plenty to keep you occupied with a large museum, spacious gardens and wonderful temple designs.

After this we paid a visit to the "Big Buddha House" (no Davina McCall lurking in the shadows). This is a rather funky 88 feet high Buddha statue complex that lies on a hillside overlooking the entire city. There's a winding staircase that leads about halfway up the statue to a small viewing perch. An excellent spot to get a good feeling for the layout of Kandy!

The final dish on the menu for today was a trip to the local cultural arts building which puts on a traditional dancing show every night. Some impressive dancing and acrobatics and even some fire walking thrown in for good measure (no sword swallowing though!).


  • Well I'm fighting the jealousy as hard as I can but it's not easy, it's a grey day here in Dublin, with not a single elephant, Bhuda, or friendly local in sight.
    I'm more than a little dissapointed that the bag of talcum powder I stashed in your bag wasn't spotted by Sri Lanken airport security. Just as well I made a plan B....

    By Anonymous cian, at 3:27 p.m.  

  • Hey guys, I have to say, the google maps tracing of your travels is deeply funky...can we turn you into a moving geocache and set Mairead on you?

    By Anonymous Davidj, at 3:50 p.m.  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 a.m.  

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