Dancers, Flowers and the Temple of the Tooth in Kandyland

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October 9th 2013
Published: October 9th 2013
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Kandy Traditional DancersKandy Traditional DancersKandy Traditional Dancers

At the cultural centre on Kandy Lake, every night women and men perform traditional dances from various regions.
Dancers, Flowers and the Temple of the Tooth in Kandyland:

Most tourist spots have their short list of go-to suggestions, and the Traditional Dance performance in Kandy is one. It's on every night at 5 pm, and the Buddhist religious service at the Temple of the Tooth Relic is on at 6pm, almost next door, so lots of people opt to do both in quick succession.

After the dancing, we chose to walk around Kandy Lake instead, which started off ok, but night fell very quickly after 6pm and by the time we got to the far side of the lake we found that the sidewalk was under construction and peak hour traffic was careening along the lake front, so it wasn't the serene walk we'd anticipated but a bleak struggle to survive without falling into a hole or the lake itself or being struck by an Ashok Leland bus.

However, serenity was indeed ours when we went to the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens, probably one of the best botanic gardens in the world. Certainly among the tops in our experience. It is huge and varied, with notable features like the orchid house which has over 150 different types
Kandy Traditional DancersKandy Traditional DancersKandy Traditional Dancers

The men had their own dances and some were quite athletic, including backflips across the stage.
of orchids, all of which seemed to be in bloom, large, miniscule, and in every colour. Just spectacular. If any of you ever go to Kandy, we think it's the number 1 thing to be sure to do.

We were there on Poya, the monthly full moon holiday, and were pleased to find that it was a favourite spot for young Sri Lankan couples to spend their day off, strolling close together, sometimes even with an arm over the other's shoulder (my gosh!) in an unusual expression of physical closeness. And under tree after tree we saw couples had staked out a private spot to talk or picnic. Always upright, mind you. Remember that old college rule--if you have a man in your room, there must always be three feet on the floor? Well, they may have been sitting on roots, but they were otherwise very proper.

And here's my traveler's tip: If you want an affordable and excellent buffet lunch or a decent coffee, try the Queens Hotel by Kandy Lake. It's another grand old lady of the Victorian era hotels in the former colonies, still clinging on to standards. They serve a good gin and tonic, too.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Kandy Fire WalkerKandy Fire Walker
Kandy Fire Walker

We could feel the heat from the coals from where we sat, and a man kept fanning them during the performance. Not sure how people can do this firey coal walking!
Kandy Lake Kandy Lake
Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake is man-made but forms a beautiful part of the city, uphill from the main markets and shops. Many of the big hotels are either around the lake or in the hills overlooking it.
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, outside KandyPeradeniya Botanical Gardens, outside Kandy
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, outside Kandy

We are lovers of botanical gardens and this is one of the best we've EVER seen. The variety of plants, their layout and general condition were all wonderful.
Lobster Claw Plant Lobster Claw Plant
Lobster Claw Plant

This picture is for the Maine lobstermen in the family.
Natural lawn mower and fertilizer machineNatural lawn mower and fertilizer machine
Natural lawn mower and fertilizer machine

Plus great display of horns!
Double coconutDouble coconut
Double coconut

These coconuts are said to be the largest seeds in the world.
Tree roots and tree roots sittersTree roots and tree roots sitters
Tree roots and tree roots sitters

I took this photo because of the amazing spread of tree roots, but it should also be noted that under most every tree in the Gardens were amourous young couples decorously wooing.
Wooing couplesWooing couples
Wooing couples

Can you see them?
Monkey on signMonkey on sign
Monkey on sign

It wasn't only young couples who were up to some monkey business.
New hair fashionNew hair fashion
New hair fashion

Get a load of this youngster's hair style.
The Temple of the Tooth Relic behind barsThe Temple of the Tooth Relic behind bars
The Temple of the Tooth Relic behind bars

The temple housing a tooth relic from the Buddha is under heavy guard and one goes through a search to enter the premises, due to a past bomb blast here during the civil war.
Temple of the Tooth Relic Temple of the Tooth Relic
Temple of the Tooth Relic

Tuk tuk drivers often ask if you want to go to "Temple Tooth". The tooth is under the golden roof, and this is considered one of the most sacred temples in Sri Lanka.
Grand HotelGrand Hotel
Grand Hotel

Phil ison his quest for a decent cup of coffee, allegedly available at the British colonial icon, the Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya. Have the Brits mastered it, or is tea still their thing?
Grand Hotel front Grand Hotel front
Grand Hotel front

Will all these flags make up for some Nescafe instant yet again?
Grand gardens Grand gardens
Grand gardens

Can as much effort go into a decent cuppa as goes into their topiary?
Grand coffeeGrand coffee
Grand coffee

Yep, and chocolate cake to boot!

10th October 2013

Another trip down memory lane, thanks.
We have a lovely old lithograph of the bridge and part of the botanical gardens at Peradeniya hanging in our hall. And I've been to the Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, which I can never remember how to pronounce, and Sam always has to remind me that it's nuraylia. Also, had dinner at the Queens Hotel in Kandy with a journo writing for the travel section of either the New York Times or the Wash Post. Can't remember which, now. Long time ago.
19th October 2013

Heaven on Earth
Phil looks like a man on the cusp of reaching Nirvanah.
2nd November 2015

Poya in Kandy
Hi, I will also be in Kandy on Poya day. I'm glad that it looks like a good idea to visit the gardens on this day as I wasn't sure. What about transport and accommodation on Poya day, do you think it should be booked in advance? Can you remember anything special happening in town on this day? Many thanks, Lisa x

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