Friday, 23 May 2008

Travel Journal #15 (13 May): Elephants and the Buddha's Tooth

Last day in Sri Lanka. Woke up in Kandy, the country's cultural capital. I didn't have much time there so after breakfast it was off to the main attraction in Kandy: the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

That's where they keep the Buddha's left canine tooth! I actually thought that was kind of creepy. The tooth was snatched from the Buddha's cremation chamber and it eventually made its way from India to Sri Lanka. What's even more creepy is that the tooth is paraded around the streets of Kandy every year in the Esala Perahera festival. The festival is supposed to be great but I am not so sure I am sorry that I missed it.

The temple itself is actually very nice. What struck me most about the place was that as you are walking towards the entrance to the temple there is a beautiful garden with several statues and they all have their back to you. Of course there's a reason for it: no one should be standing with their back to the Buddha -- and I suppose that include statues!

Leaving Kandy, on our way to Colombo we stopped at the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela. As it turns out the war is going on in the elephants natural habitat and is hurting them. Many are being killed by land mines or left homeless. Some of them are brought to the orphanage where they are kept in semi wild conditions.

I had lots of fun having lunch while watching 60 or so elephants in the river only a few meters away. They were bathing, playing, and generally just being elephants. One of them had three legs from stepping on a land mine. He still walks down to the river and back to the orphanage every day.

Once I had enough of elephant watching we made our way back to Colombo. I only had time to take a shower, get my bags, and head to the airport. I'll be lucky to get a couple of hours sleep on the plane before I start a brand new day in Bangkok.

1 comment:

Bangkok Hotels, Thailand said...

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