We arrived at Kandy and checked into our hotel for a bit of a breather.
Kandy Cultural Show
At 5pm, we gathered and drove to a local Kandy Cultural Performance. The show went for an hour and was very entertaining. The finale was fire walking in the courtyard outside the theatre.
Temple of the Tooth
We left then for a visit to the famous Tooth Temple in which a canine tooth of Buddha is enshrined in golden caskets. Since ancient times, this relic has played an important role in local Sri Lankan politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. The whole of Kandy was decked out in lanterns and lights due to the May celebration of Buddha’s death and enlightenment.
The Temple of the Tooth was full of people due to the Vesak Buddhist Festival and we decided as a group that given the time to enter the temple would be prohibitive, that it was better to take a little time to walk around the surrounds and to leave.
The following morning, we visited the very gracious Suisse Hotel in Kandy which during the Second World War from 1943 to 1945 was used as the Headquarters of the South East Asia Command, under the Command of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander.
a jewelry shop and before viewing the showroom were shown a video of how mining for gems is undertaken in Sri Lanka. It was very informative – an interesting insight to the way in which gem mining is conducted. Many of the group purchased jewelry – particularly sapphires including star sapphires which are only found in Sri Lanka.
Kandy Botanical Gardens
Once we left the jewelry shop, we visited the Kandy Botanical Gardens which are very beautiful. There is an orchid house at the gardens which contained a number of beautiful blooms.
A number of trees within the gardens were planted by world leaders. The most fascinating of which is a tree that was planted in 1891 by the then Tzar Nicholas (the last Tzar of Russia). By comparison, Queen Elizabeth’s planting was a replacement and propped up by a large metal warratah.
Once we were finished at the gardens, we left for Nuwara Eliya and the drive through the mountains was one of the most beautiful drives experienced in either India or Sri Lanka with many waterfalls and tea gardens and other crops being growun up to nearly 2000 metres above sea level.
We visited a tea factory along the way and sampled some lovely black tea.
Nuwara Eliya contains a number of 19th century colonial style buildings and hotels. We stayed that evening in the St Andrews Hotel – a beautiful 19th century hotel. It was also the 40th wedding anniversary for Bill and Judith Manson and they were treated to a present and small cake to commemorate that significant milestone.
The following morning, we visited the grounds of the Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, another fine old colonial hotel with beautiful gardens.