Sri Lanka II.: Kandy – Busy Crossroad and Buddhist Sanctuary - VIDEO
Kandy is the second largest city of Srí Lanky until the Brits captured in 1815. It was the last fortress of local kings. Busy downtown is in the valley. Resident districts are situated over local hills. It resembles small mountain towns. The Temple of Tooth and former royal palace are the landmarks luring tourists from all around the island. There are many more interesting places such as temples, supas, or the museum of tea and the elephant park of Pinnawela.
A road goes along both sides of the said lake. Well, no peaceful rest there but still better than endless crowds in the downtown. I receive offers for accommodation all the time, or a ride in, tuk-tuk (local three-wheeled taxi), or a massage, at least. At the remotest edge of the lake I sit down on a bench to refresh myself. But soon, a large grey cloud hovers above my head. So I rather move closer to the downtown to have somewhere to hide. After a while, I encounter fearless monkeys, taste my first mango (in an overpriced pack “for tourists”).
I get to the temple and think if it is worth the pricey entrance to be squeezed inside with other tourists or just walk around it outside. The second option is eventually the one I choose. I will have many more occasions to see Buddhist temples. I discover two sacred elephants above a temple on the edge of jungle. They have a red dot on forehead. I know they wouldn’t hurt me. Bit further, I sit on a wall above the temple to enjoy some peace. I do some my work I have to finish for about an hour.
Back in crowds. Now I am right at large market (I got there accidentaly. I just somehow appeared there…). They sell there humungous amounts of fruits, vegetables, fish, rice, spices, and clothes somewhere. I buy a whole bag of mango from one nice man. Finally I manage to do a good bargain (about half a dollar a piece). Some vendors try to persuade me to buy spices and tea. I hardly explain that I do not want to carry it for a whole month in my backpack.
Originally I wanted to eat along with locals, from all this bustle around me anymore but properly humming in my head, and then entering one of the tourist restaurants on the main street. I take great vegetable soup with buttered pancakes and fresh pineapple juice. The first hot meal since I arrived a few days ago (I deliberately ate only fresh fruit).
I go to see a small temple on my way to the hostel. One is forbidden to visit Buddhist temples in shoes. This one costs 200 rupees to enter (about 2 dollars). Interior paintings are being repaired. I am lucky to see local painters during work. They repair complex ornaments with tiny brushes. I admire their craft.
Upon visiting the temple, I take a tuk-tuk to the large white statue of Buddha on the hill near my hostel. From there, I have a beautiful view of the city. I buy one "king cocounut" – a mature coconut with fresh juice inside. Before sunset, I return to my hostel. I meet one nice Englishman, and also an Irish woman who happens travel around the world.
It would be a pity to miss Kandy once on Sri Lanka. But I cannot recommend you the city. There too many tourists, moreover, there are many more placesthat are more beautiful. The best ist to stop there on a ride between Colombo and mountains.
Text/photo/video: Matouš Vinš
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