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Walking the banks of Kandy lake we notice people feeding popcorn to the fish. Watching the slippery dark masses of Tilapia, we realise how crowded the lake is. Walking along further and stopping again to photograph the fish, monkeys appear, playing around, eating leaves and petals only feet away. Finding it a little surreal, we stumble across the ancient baths, which, in their abandonment, adds to the effect as we walk back towards the city streets.
Botanical gardens were impressive and gave us a break from the sometimes manic streets. Thousands of bats, giant bamboo, and a spice garden...it was nice just to wonder around for half a day. The next evening we visited the Temple of the Tooth, where it is said, a single tooth of the Buddha remains in a golden stupa. After the Buddha was cremated on a funeral pyre in India, amongst the ashes, there was a single tooth. This became an important relic, apparently possessing certain powers and at some point was taken to Sri Lanka for safe keeping. It is now regarded as one of the most important artefacts in Buddhism today and it was impressive to see the veneration it receives and enjoy the evening ceremony and the lightening show outside.
It gave us both a taste of the level of religious devotion that we might soon see more of in the ancient city of Anuradhapura...