We really did have quite an eventful and rich day what with the elephant orphanage at Pinnawela, poo-paper factory, spice garden, tea estate and good food !
The last stop for the day was the much famous Buddha’s Tooth relic temple at Kandy.
The last of the sun’s rays were touching us as we walked our way towards the temple. While we waited with bated breath to see the tooth relic, what really charmed us on our way as we walked to the temple were these beautiful birds, in solo poses as the epitome of grace and splendour.
When one sees so much beauty around, there is a very huge chance that she/he gets emotional. It brings out something so powerful that you feel miniscule and close to nothingness. You only need to look around to feel it. The walk proved it.
What a joy it is to live in your own world! To be untouched by all the commotion, to maintain your purity, to waddle by the still waters, to not even worry about your next meal, to just go on as if you are the king!
It may not be too much of a , what we call “practical” thingy ! We do live in a flock. And yet, there is such a strong need to maintain one’s individuality, to not get carried away, to be visible as a person and not just a herd, to be appreciated for who you are and derive happiness out of the same fact. Not hard, at all.
You may laugh at me for saying this or probably even agree – It is not hard to believe that basic instincts are just so similar. Sometimes, the instinct in an animal other than man may be more symbiotic. Everytime I have seen the monkeys, I have witnessed atleast one symbiotic relationship. There have been instances when the males have dominated the females. But there is a lot of camaraderie otherwise. I see mummy monkeys carrying their babies and all that motherly instinct, babies clinging onto mothers as they jump from roof to roof or tree to tree, monkeys helping each other out with a tough nut and monkeys in love. The more I see the fine motor and manipulative skills of the monkeys and chimps, the more the similarities I find. So much so, that I love watching them (from a safe distance).
Watching monkeys reminds me of my visits to my maternal grandma’s place where monkeys flourished like crazy. Dried mangoes for pickles, friums, dried chillies and even clothes were not spared. We would get worried if everything was in order. Monkeys of all shapes and sizes would jump over the roofs right above our heads and we just used cupped palms over our head as protection. Such wonderful days they are!
Lost in thoughts, we finally reached the temple. It is not really a large distance. But when you have thoughts travelling faster than light, and so vividly, you need to jolt yourself out of your reverie and enter another pleasant world. A world that belongs to everyone and still your own.
The temple is beautiful and has a lot of adjoining structures. Photography came with a price and yet some areas are restricted, which is very understandable. Also, once inside, there are signages that request people not to face against the Buddha in a way that has your back towards the Almighty. Very pleasantly, we did not find anyone flouting this rule.
The walls, the roof and everything has a story to tell. We would have loved to get lost in the stories. R was our guide who told us stories of important events when we came across paintings. But honestly, that is never enough. I think if one can find someone who can narrate the entire pictographs there, she/he must go for it, especially if they like stories and history. K loves history while I love stories. So this one was interesting.
I don’t know how man can make such perfect symmetric designs. I am not sure if they used an apparatus or mould, but I have seen artistry done with the eye and finger and a fertile mind. I don’t think any mould, stencil or copier can beat that.
There are quite a few shrines inside but the place where the sacred tooth is kept is not allowed to be photgraphed. We saw a large number of Buddhists clad in white in the temple. Very pious, very peaceful looking, they added to the ambience in a beautiful way.
Be it a temple, church, mosque or any devotional place, you cannot help but feel inner peace. One may see God everywhere and define Him/Her in different ways but somewhere along, I believe, that the purpose of a sanctum is to feel peaceful and content.
If you like stories, here is a little bit of what R shared with some extra details quoted by wikipedia. What surprised me was how connections between India and Sri Lanka are so strongly etched since times immemorial. The painting talk of stories of how Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka from Odisha, India. Possessing the tooth relic was considered to bring victory to the owner and many wars were fought for the same before it finally came to Sri Lanka. Just watching those paintings and listening to stories is very enlightening.
What you see in the above painting is the story of the tooth relic being handed over to the king of Sri Lanka.
You should have see how overjoyed K was when he heard Kalinga being mentioned over and over again and stood pretty transfixed at the spot.
The temple has a small building next to it that houses the taxidermised Maligawa Tusker – Raja. Captured in the jungles of Eravur in 1925, he was later purchased by a gentleman and donated to the temple. Raja carried the tooth relic in the gold casket for about 50 years and was later recognized as a national treasure and later when he passed away in 1988, he was taxidermised. Reports state that this is the first time a tusker has been taxidermised. The love that the people had for Raja is evident by the entire section donated to him.
When we were walking back to the car, I spotted this.
I cannot tell you the kind of joy I felt. It has been put up bang in the middle of the street in a pretty prominent place and accessible as well. Don’t these little acts of common sense and sensitivity brighten your day?
After a very happening day (I took 5 posts to write about this one day), we walked back very quietly, the water looking resplendent and maintaining a dignified calm bang in the middle of a touristy place.
We could see schools of fish right below the surface – big ones! And yet, our photography was not able to capture it. Lets blame the lens okay?
When we cast one long, wishful look before getting into the car, we saw the beauty that was Kandy. And yet, we knew there is a lot more to it. A lot more that may not be touristy and yet extremely beautiful. And splendid – like a candy.
We waved a small goodbye, while this guy/girl seemed least bothered about our arrival and departure.
P.S. Thank you for joining me on my trip to Kandy! For now, I shall take a break and get you some tales from Orissa. And later, we can enjoy and relive Colombo together. Deal?