10.09.2013 - 11.09.2013 22 °C
We clambered down our giant hill this morning in search of some cheap breakfast. It doesn't take long to walk into town from the hill where all the budget accommodation is and we found a tiny vegetarian place called Bagjis and Dosias. It was a little intimidating but we sat down and ordered something we had never tried off the menu on the wall. We both had masala Dosias and tea. The tea was sweet and delicious and first came a plate full of fried snacks. We didn't know what they were but we tried a couple and they were delicious. Next came two curry sauces and then two huge Dosias. They are like huge pancakes which are filled with curried potato, veg and spices and folded. There was no cutlery and it was an eat with your fingers place. In Sri Lanka you are meant to eat with your right hand only.... Obviously this proved to be a little difficult for us but we managed it and it was yummy. It was so big however Chelsea could only eat half of hers and felt bad leaving it.
It was heavily raining by this point and we had decided to visit the Sacred Buddha Tooth Temple. The main attraction within Kandy. The temple is sat next to the lake and is within fenced grounds. We entered the grounds through separate entrances, male and female and walked through a paved garden with several statues to the entrance to the temple itself. Here we had to leave our shoes and pay an entrance fee of Rs1000 each.
Steps led up into a big white building and we saw a kingfisher sat on the wall which was a treat.
Inside you walk through a highly decorated tunnel with vibrant wall paintings into and outside courtyard with the shrine room in the centre. Up the stairs is where the tooth is kept. You can't see it as it is kept inside boxes, inside a room but it is still packed full of people worshiping, sat on the floor. There is a sort of altar where people can leave offerings of fresh flowers. We had a look but didn't really feel right sightseeing in such a religious room so left to explore the rest of the buildings.
There was a room full of paintings describing the story of the tooth and then a two story museum with relics and offerings inside. The temple is good but not one of the most amazing we have ever seen. It is very significant to Buddhists and is one of the most sacred sights however we though it was a little overpriced for tourists. There is a tiered pricing system in Sri Lanka where tourists can sometimes pay fifty times more than Sri Lankan's to see the same sights. You do get a minidisc with your ticket though.....not that anyone has used a minidisc in ten years..... Or ever. The final straw for Liam was when we went to collect our shoes and the man said there was a mandatory tip required to collect them.
After the temple it was raining heavily so we caught a tuk-tuk back to our hotel and waited for the rain to subside. In the late afternoon we set off in search of wifi and headed back into town walking. About halfway down the hill the rain became torrential and we got totally drenched. We headed into a coffee shop dripping all over the posh polished floor and sat all afternoon drinking delicious coffee. For dinner we ducked into a local place and were ushered upstairs. Upstairs in places we have since found out they often have a different, more expensive menu. We ordered some food, regretting that we didn't insist on staying downstairs as it wasn't very good. But we know for next time. Kandy is a very religious place, beer is really expensive and things don't open too late so we had an early night, in our mosquito net, watching films.
On our last day in Kandy we wanted to explore the town a little more. It was pouring it down however but managed a walk into town without getting too wet. We went to a local eatery and Liam ate a biriyani while Chelsea ate a variety of different bite size snacks. Food is very cheap in Sri Lanka as long as you go in places the locals eat. We again were tried to be shown to a nicer room upstairs but we politely and firmly declined his persuasive attempts and sat downstairs with everyone else.
After brunch the rain had eased up so we called at a bake house and bought a piece of cake each and decided to walk around the lake. The lake is lovely, there is a lot of wildlife and we enjoyed spotting different things. There was some little wild turtles, some huge monitor lizards and lots of different birds and fish. At the other end there was a huge troop of monkeys that we were afraid to walk past but they scampered past us on a narrow footpath. After hiding under trees from the rain a few times and a long steep walk up the hill to our hotel when it came to dinner time we didn't want to make it all the way into town in the rain. There is a tiny place to eat halfway down the hill called no name restaurant which we had veg curry and rice and a big pot of tea to warm us up.
Kandy is beautifully green and lush and has some gorgeous views. The town is buzzing with people, places to eat and shops to look in and we have enjoyed experiencing it. Since it is in the hills though it has been rainy and even though apparently the temperature is more than twenty degrees we have been cold. We are excited to move on to somewhere hopefully warmer and see some more of Sri Lanka.