Yesterday we started to head south to the city of Kandy. On our way we stopped at a spice plantation and tried amazing cocoa tea and other Ayurvedic concoctions.
Kandy is a pretty populated city but it’s situated in a lush green hilly area with a lake in the centre. The skyscapes are pretty spectacular! Kandy used to be Sri Lanka’s capital and is home to one of the most iconic Buddhist’s relic…the tooth of Lord Buddha himself!
We visited the Temple of the Tooth – both the temple and the grounds around it were super ornate and beautiful. The temple was built in 1687 and the interior is decorated with intricately carved wood and ivory. The tooth itself is kept in a two story inner shrine that is guarded by two huge elephant tusks. This temple is a sacred place where Buddhists come from near and far to practice. Again seeing the many monks draped in vermilion cloths praying before you is something that I find both comforting and fascinating. I have to admit that it feels a bit strange to be able to walk around freely and snap photos while others are privately praying and paying respects. The only rule that you have to follow is that you don’t pose in front of any Buddha statues while taking photos. Even though I was one of those annoying tourists, it somehow just felt wrong that this place of worship is open to the public. I feel like there should be a separate area for those who go to practice and others who are merely sight seeing.
Today was a free day in Kandy to do as we’d like. I have to admit that the last few days have been pretty full-on, so I was more than happy to chill and take advantage of another super posh hotel. This afternoon I was swayed to attempt yet another Ayurvedic massage. Kris and a few others were going to a proper clinic (not someone’s backyard) and after confirming with our guide that I could keep my bottoms on and not get ‘man handled’, I decided to try it once again. It was heaps better than my Indian massage that’s for sure. However there was an added bonus that I am not too sure I’d like to relive again… a steam bath. Basically there is this wooden chamber (coffin) you lay in that resembles a tanning bed but your head sticks out the top. They light the coals on fire below and your body sweats like you’ve never sweat before! It felt super claustrophobic but I kept thinking how good it probably was for my hips and arthritis. When she finally opened my ‘casket’ after 10 minutes of minor hell my body was dripping like I just stepped out of the shower! Yum!