Kandy in Sri Lanka is truly an eye candy. Kandy is a treat to the sore eyes that would have by now been covered with the dust and constant traffic that is a permanent fixture on all roads that lead to this place.
Like all towns in south east asian countries, Kandy is full of people with three wheelers and pedestrians fighting for space amidst street hawkers selling everything under the sun.. But Kandy is a pleasant surprise once you cross the busy streets and turn on to the main square.
Kandy can be quite unpredictable in terms of weather and there are times when the rain just refuses to abate and there are times when the blue skies of Kandy are covered with mist but no rain. But, the beauty of Kandy lies in its rains for no other city looks as beautiful as Kandy does when it rains. The lush tropical plantations turn greener making city dwellers like me go green with envy while the lake in the centre of the city around which the Temple is located looks like a beautiful pearl with little drops of water on it.
Hence, do not let the rains dampen your spirit but brave the rain and experience Kandy in all its splendour. That is why I have decided to call it an eye candy…
The city of Kandy is located in the midst of hills which crosses an area of tropical plantations and the main attraction here is the “Tooth Temple” one of the most important places of worship for Buddhists all over the world. (More on the history and information on Kandy can be obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandy and history about the temple can be obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Dalada_Maligawa)
The tooth temple is very famous not only for the relic that it houses but also for the holy water that is prepared to bathe the sacred relic. This ritual is observed every Wednesday and the water is supposed to have healing properties.
The best time to visit the temple is in the morning when there is relatively less crowd. But if you are a person interested in observing the rituals and are comfortable with crowds then evenings are the best time although rituals are performed thrice everyday.
The Tooth Temple looks beautiful at night when its all lit up..
There are guides available at the Temple for those who are interested to know the history about the temple and its origins.
What caught my attention at this temple was this huge statue of an Elephant called Raja.
Raja – The Taxidermy Pachyderm : As we were walking along the corridors of the temple, our guide took us to this place and showed us this really huge Elephant standing in all its glory. Our guide told us that Raja also known as Maligawa Raja belonged to the temple and took part in the annual procession of the temple and carried the casket on the final day of the annual festival for 50 years.
Raja was declared as a national treasure by the then President of Sri Lanka in recognition of his services to the temple. When Raja died, his remains were stuffed using a technique called Taxidermy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxidermy).
Today Raja stands tall in a separate museum within the grounds of the temple.
Apart from the Tooth Temple there also several hikes for the more adventurous and also several other places of interest.
For shopaholics Kandy can be a delight as its famous for its Batik prints. There are numerous outlets that sell good Batik stuff and also precious and semi precious stones.