Just another noisy city
Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
85Trip End Ongoing
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Some more interesting facts about Sri Lanka. It was the first country in the world to vote in a woman Prime Minister.
It has the highest per capita rate of snake bite deaths in the world!!! It's a snakes paradise with 96 species of which 32 are are venomous which includes 13 species of sea snake.
Arrived in Kandy and first impressions are not great. It looks like another noisy sweaty city. my sentiments are confirmed when all I can find is some grotty place to stay and when I inform the land lord that I will be staying two nights he tells me no problem but that I have to check out at 8 am, remove my bags and then re check in, in the afternoon
I took a walk into town and wander around the huge lake in the middle of the city and eventually come across the main attraction of Kandy which is the Temple of the Tooth. According to legend after Buddha was cremated in 543 BC they found a tooth in the ashes (amongst other remains) and this was smuggled out in the hair of a princess ( in 4 AD) and originally looked after by the various kings of Sri Lanka. In 1652 it was taken to Kandy where it was housed in this specially built temple. The 'tooth' is kept in a series of boxes in the inner sanctum and is very seldom seen by anyone. One historian, who did see it 1914 described it as a piece of discoloured ivory being about 3 inches long. While in the 1590 some claimed it was a buffalo tooth. In the early 1600's the Portuguese took the tooth to Goa in India where it was pounded into dust, then burnt and thrown into the sea. Buddhists claim this was a replica while others say it magically reformed and returned to Sri Lanka. Anyway I had a pleasant walk through the temple and museums. There is even a special museum for Raja the Elephant who worked at the temple for 50 years and is apparently the first elephant to be properly preserved by a taxidermist.
People are coming and going for their daily prayers and placing offerings of flowers to Buddha
My next stop is of to climb Adam's Peak in the Central Hills area. This is going to be something different. This is one of Sri Lanka's most famous Pilgrimage sites and is a peak rising 2243 m high. At the summit is a depression that the Buddhists claim is the footprint of Buddha, Muslims claim that it was where Adam first set foot on earth, Hindus claim it is Shiva's and even the Christians say it belonged to St Thomas. Overall the Buddhist are winning. Now days this depression is covered and a fake one is shown if you give the temple priests an offerings when reaching the summit. So tomorrow I leave Kandy and catch the train to Hatton and then a bus to Dalhousie at the base of the mountain.