February 4th~ Kandy, Sri Lanka
Today is Independence Day in Sri Lanka and a national holiday to commemorate the country’s political independence from British rule in 1948. Flags are displayed everywhere. This is the equivalent to the 4th of July in the USA.
No alcohol is sold or served today.
We made a brief photo stop at a vantage point overlooking Kandy, the lake and the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya
Not on our scheduled itinerary, we paid a surprise visit to this enormous park for about an hour long walk-about.
The park covers 147 acres, and includes over 4000 species of plants, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. The orchid collection is especially nice.
A visit to a family-owned lapidary where we learned how the gems are mined, and had the opportunity to purchase some jewelry. We also paid a visit to the silk shop next door. I did not make any purchases at either place, but bought a cute elephant necklace from a local vender.
Kandy is known for their colorful murals. They adorn many walls and are used to deter graffiti as well as putting up random posters.
Lunch was on our own in Kandy. The stop allowed us time for a quick swing through a local market where Karen and I both purchased coconut cooking spoons.
We ate at Cafe Aroma and I can highly recommend it. The lime soda is especially refreshing.
Sri Dalada Maligawa, (aka Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) is housed in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy. It is considered one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred sites attracting several million visitors a year, reportedly more than the Taj Mahal.
This is a place of worship where both locals and visitors bring flowers and incense as offerings.
The tooth relic is encased in seven golden caskets which are engraved with precious gemstones. The caskets have a shape of a stupa. They are not on display.
Both the town of Kandy, and the Temple are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Evening Home Hosted Dinner
Welcomed into a local home, we are first treated with a performance of a local Kandayan dancer and drummer.
A demonstration of how to make two local dishes including the string hoppers preceded a wonderful dinner.
I’m now on the hunt for the kitchen tool that will allow me to try making string hoppers at home. Actually, I want to make angel hair pasta with it.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful to have been welcomed into a Sri Lankan home and have the opportunity to learn more about their day-to-day way of life as well as see some traditional dancing.