Savouring Sri Lanka: Kandy tripping 5

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.

DSC_0437When 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.


DSC_0455The 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.

DSC_0459I 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.

DSC_0465Be 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.

DSC_0488When we were walking back to the car, I spotted this.

DSC_0503I 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?

DSC_0504After 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.

DSC_0514We 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?

DSC_0516When 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.DSC_0517

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?


  1. Destination Infinity · February 16, 2013

    Lots of pictures and a story this time, huh? The story was very interesting. I can only wonder how buddhism is popular at many places, except the country of its birth? I like the atmosphere and paintings of this temple. I wish temples in India could allow photography inside!

    You seem to be reverse tracing the path of the teeth – Srilanka to Orissa 😛

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · February 17, 2013

      Hi DI !

      Thanks 🙂 It is an itneresting story. But it kind of made my post too long, so just hyperlinked it . Yeah, you know I am reading a book about how Buddhism travelled to CHina and Tibet. I wonder about it so much! Maybe others beliefs had established a strong foothold in India? I don’t know, actually!

      Yeah yeah, all we can do is reverse tracing 😛 Atleast until a time machine is invented.

  2. Yash the PolymathGeek · February 17, 2013

    Man!! That was a great post KismiToffeeBar. Pics were awesome.. You manage to capture the external world and the thoughts going through your head in a way that thats a joy to read. Somehow this post resonated with me on multiple levels. I love history too and especially to find out about how different cultures interacted and enriched each other. Thought provoking, awesome post. Great pics. Nuff’ said!

    • kismitoffeebar · February 17, 2013

      Hi Yash !

      You are very generous with your words – thank you so much! 🙂 Am glad you could relate to this. It is fascinating to see how certain religions, common practices, architectural designs travel between distant lands and in the process narrate great stories! That’s another reason why I love the walls and the museums. They talk to us like people from that era. And the entire experience is a joy!

      Thank you, again! 🙂

  3. Swaram · February 17, 2013

    Deal 🙂

  4. The Girl Next Door · February 18, 2013

    Done deal. 🙂 Dying to hear your Orissa stories. 🙂
    It was fun reading this post. That Buddha statue looks SO peaceful!

    • kismitoffeebar · February 18, 2013

      🙂 I can’t wait to write about it too! Thank you, TGND!

  5. Jas · February 18, 2013

    wonderful… pics, story, the entire detail 🙂 and ya I wonder why Buddhism is not a strong presence in India. Your book review might shed a light on it.

    • kismitoffeebar · February 18, 2013

      Thanks Jas 🙂 It is a coffee table book, but I really hope I can share some stories atleast ! 🙂

  6. Smita · February 18, 2013

    What an amazing set of photographs & a lovely narrative!!!

    I too find monkeys quite fascinating 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · February 18, 2013

      Thanks Smita! 🙂 Hehe, yeah they are so much fun!

  7. techie2mom · February 18, 2013

    It’s such a serene, beautiful place…Loved all the pics…
    Waiting for more travel stories…

    • kismitoffeebar · February 18, 2013

      It is a beautiful place t2m. Thank you 🙂

      Coming up, Ma’m!

  8. pixie · February 19, 2013

    Lovely! Such beautiful pictures! 🙂
    Loved your Header as well 🙂

  9. Visha · February 21, 2013

    I could sense the serenity of the place through your pictures.
    Thank you for giving a lovely and vivid tour of Kandy 🙂
    Orissa, when are you coming 😉

    • kismitoffeebar · February 26, 2013

      Thanks Visha! I don’t know how i missed replying to your comment.

      I lvoed sharing this with all of you 🙂 Orissa will be comign soon 🙂

  10. gardenerat60 · February 26, 2013

    Lovely photographs and narration.

    I missed all your posts, am trying to search all mails, spam etc. Still unable to trace why I am not notified. WordPress magic I suppose. I have to read through the missed posts and enjoy the experience. Thanks.

    • kismitoffeebar · February 28, 2013

      Thank you so much gardenera 🙂 Means a lot that you came by and read through it 🙂 Thanks a lot. Ah well, I miss lots of posts many a time too. 😦

  11. Amee · June 1, 2013

    Hi there! I hope you don’t mind but I decided to publish your web site: to my online directory. I used, “Savouring Sri Lanka: Kandy tripping 5 | Kismitoffeebar” as your web site title. I hope this is alright with you. In case you’d like me to change the title or perhaps remove it entirely, email me at ameebays@gmail.
    com. Thanks.

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