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On Our Way to Ceylonese Tea

semi-overcast 29 °C

Much like the Turin Shroud, Buddha's tooth has been around a bit since it was first discovered in  Kushinagar, India, after he died in 800BC at the age of eighty. Legend has it that eleven centuries later, in about 300AD, the tooth was smashed with a hammer and it became a star. When the tooth returned to earth sometime later a special temple was built for it in the Kandian capital city of Pollonaruwa. This ancient city was built about 1,000 years ago and this is all that remains of a seven story temple building...
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The Kings of Kandia lived in Pollonaruwa for centuries and bathed in one of a number of lotus shaped baths. This is the only one that remains today...
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The city of Pollonaruwa covers a vast area with many ruined buildings that are little more than piles of old bricks. However, three magnificent statues of Buddha, all carved from a single block of stone, are clearly the highlight of this site...
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Hundreds of schoolchildren were visiting at the same time as us and these elegantly dressed teachers were taking a break from their charges when they posed for us...
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After Pollonaruwa we visited the Hindu city of Mathale. While Buddhist temples can be a little over the top when it comes to the number of Buddhas, they pale in comparison to the sheer garishness of Hindu temples. There are exuberant paintings of gods everywhere and many of them could be mistaken for decoration on fairground rides...
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The Buddhist temple in Kandy, in the very centre of Sri Lanka, is a much more reserved, and revered, place because it is the current resting place of Buddha's tooth. This is the Temple of the Tooth...
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And behind these golden doors is the tooth itself – although no one is ever allowed to see it for fear of taking away its spiritual power...
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Thousands of adherents bring fragrant flowers every day to this, the most important, shrine in Sri Lanka and it was interesting to see the strength of devotion of the many worshippers who spend hours praying to this relic.

Kandy was an important city in British colonial times as it is a relatively cool place in the central highlands. It was, and remains, the centre of the Ceylon tea trade and we will be visiting the plantations and factories in the next few days. In the meantime we took in an an entertaining evening of traditional Sri Lankan dancing, plate spinning and fire-eating at the Kandy Lake Club...
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Now we are headed to the hills for tea.

Posted by Hawkson 17:43 Archived in Sri Lanka

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Comments

Dazzling colours. That flag is interesting. Add green and it would pretty well cover the whole spectrum. Juggler must have great set of teeth.

by R and B

There are beautiful sapphires that come from Sri Lanka - hope you get to see some. When we arrived in Vancouver there was a small store-front museum that was decorated with all colours of sapphire. Qute extraordinary.

by Janet

Such beauty. Could you not build a lotus shaped bath on to your property? So lovely. Religion is so fascinating. The teachers beautiful in all the colours and patterns. I do not know how you are able to resist bringing tons of fabrics home. Always interesting commentary.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Enjoyed catching up with you. You are having a fine time of it clearly. Lovely place. So much of interest. I can't wait a lot longer for pictures of food though! Elephants are great, but give me a good food market any day.

by Tom Whalley

You see our amazing culture and nature. The Kandy tooth temple is one of outstanding visiting place in our little Sri Lanka. Our last king's palace was here. The Holy Lake is pretty nice.

by Danushka Fernando

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