Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kandy

As we entered the city limits of Kandy; the roads got narrower and crowded; I really did not like the crowd after having just visited the ancient cities of Dambulla, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura and Polannaruwa.

Passed through an ancient bridge built by the British across the Kandy river. I understood that Kandy was also a British colony. But the famous landmark is the Dalida Maligawa - The Temple of Tooth Relic.

Its the temple most sacred to Buddhists as the tooth of Buddha is housed; it plays an important role in politics as they believe whoever holds the relic holds the country's governance (Remember the temples of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa which the tooth relic?)  The temple in itself is interesting as the temple is surrounded by a moat. This was the first time I have ever seen a temple surrounded by moat. The temple is housed within the palace complex and the moat was first level of safety. The Kandy lake is a place to relax and it is there right in the middle of the business district.

Visited the temple in the morning but it was a rushed one; thanks solely to the guide who rushed us through the temple since he had to get another visitor! So visited the temple again that evening. The chamber which houses the tooth relic is open thrice a day and visitors throng to get a glimpse of the golden casket adorned with rubies and pearls and emeralds.  What mesmerized me was the temple music that is played when the chamber remains open. I spent sometime watching the drums and bugles being played; it was relaxing.

A stroll around the city; Kandy is on higher altitude so evening and mornings are bit chilly. Watched the local dance performances in the evening. Good drinks to wash away the night and a stroll around the lake as the lakes gleam.

The central district of Kandy


A small church opposite to the pub we visited.


Pub was a cool place. One of the room's walls were filled with autobiography of visitors to Sri Lanka.


The terrace and its ambiance seemed to be a sophisticated place to hang out. Thats what I thought so; until I got a call from a bank last month mentioning that they will dispatch a new card with new numbers immediately as they believe my card will be used in a fraudulent way since it was swiped to pay for at the Pub, Kandy :-/


Sri Dalida Maligawa. The complex has the last king of Kany's palace until British took over - He was an Indian from the south. He converted to Buddhism as only Buddhists can rule the kingdom. The complex also has audience hall, a museum which houses taxidermy remains of the first elephant Raja to carry the casket, a church of British time, few other smaller Hindu temples


See the moat?


Lot of stories around the tooth relic. How it was stolen by an Indian Hindu king and how it was brought back to Sri Lanka by a queen who hid it under her bun of hair....Hindus are portrayed as villains to Buddhism in all the stories I heard right from day 1.

The chamber overheard houses the tooth relic. 4 huge tusks guard the room.


The temple musicians play drums and bugles. Its somewhat similar to the music played in the temples of Kerala.


The casket which holds the tooth relic.


A picture of the casket.


A temple elephant - it was swaying left and right and it sort of looked cute.


We decided to walk behind the temple off the track. Behind is the Udawatta forest. A local official just mentioned in passing that if we took a particular route; we can see the temple tuskers. They have been left in the forest as it was breeding season. We were cautioned to keep silent. As we climbed further, we saw Indi Raja. Indi Raja or Indira raja was gifted to the temple by Rajiv Gandhi in 1988. The tusker was 8 years old then. Indi Raja is the chosen tusker to carry the casket of tooth relic in procession during Esala Perahera (the festival of tooth).

We saw few other tuskers as we went further into the forest. One of them was Kaveri Raja of Mysore Zoo gifted by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001


Kandy Lake. The Queen's bath is seen on the right; currently its the police headquarters specially for the temple police.


Lake at night


Watched Kandyan folk and classical dances. The dance does not have complicated or intricate mudras like our own classical dances but it was a treat to watch. There were different types of dances like peacock dance, conch dance, fire dance, cobra dance etc. Few pictures here

Raban dance is a dance with drums as property. As the dancers perform, they roll drums to the air and hold it by their mouth and increase the number of drums they hold. Requires lot of practice to maintain the rhythm and balance. 


 Pooja dance - to pay homage to the deities and the guru


Ves dance - Ves is the traditional attire of the Kandyan dancer. 64 ornaments complete the dress and it takes years of rigorous training before a dancer can attain the status of a Ves dancer


Pantheru Dance - the property is Pantheru closely resembling a Tambourine.


Mayura Wannama - showing the graceful movements of a peacock


Mask dance - Low country mythical dance showing Garuda killing the serpent. This is performed to drive away evil spirits and is still used as a psychiatrist treatment.


The streets of Kandy, like 80s India.

28 comments:

  1. A very visually engrossing post and a lovely write up:)

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  2. Great clicks as always. I loved the last picture especially. You have truly explored Sri Lanka. I will take your help when I visit there next for sure.

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    1. Thanks Neha. Yeah you keep saying this :-P

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  3. Great shots Insignia and a lovely narration. Enjoyed it a lot ....

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  4. Most interesting .I am completely in love with Sri Lanka now .

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    1. Thanks Kavita. Sri Lanka is a lovely place; if you put up with their constant jabbering of 'Hindus wanted to destroy Buddhism' :-P

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  5. I loved your cover photo. Nice capture of your travel to Kanday. I think i can refer to your travelogue for Srilanka while visiting the place ;)

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  6. Thanks. Yes you are welcome to do that :)

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  7. beautiful snaps .. and swaying left to right and all is usually a sign of depression in animals.

    interesting on the tooth relic story , would love ot know what is the true story ..

    Thanks for sharing ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Oh! this is new to me! I will have to research. But if its true; then sad.

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  8. B,

    As ever a good photo journalism. May be your pics are getting better-try ideas. And plan your next trip elsewhere and blog with some good photographs.

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    1. Thanks Anil..Sure Anil, the next time I get vacation, I will be off to a new place :)

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  9. I think you have covered almost everything what Kandy has to offer..Nice narration Insi,

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    1. Melange, Think so! But during this trip to SL, ended off the beaten path. Lot of unknown and detours

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  10. Gorgeous pictures and interesting details. Dance forms are amazing, particularly Mask Dance. Never knew a dance can be used for psychiatrist treatment!

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    1. Thank you. Its similar to what our folks do in India. Psychic treatment to drive away the evils...

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  11. I have missed many posts Bindu..I am in a region where we have 10hrs. power cut.wonder I am in a developing , soon to be Super power country:(

    I love your template, awesome...lovely pics too. At least could see relics of the toothe sitting from the comforts of my home.thanks,

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    1. chitra,

      I am appalled. How do you tolerate? It must be hard for you to finish of bathing, washing, cooking before the power goes. And then gloomy.. 10 hrs is too much.

      Yeah, thanks chitra.

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  12. Hey pretty good pics and detailed description!

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    1. Thanks Rachna, glad you liked them

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  13. The contents are really good…
    mumbaiflowerplaza.com

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  14. I missed many of your posts. Will sure catch up.
    This one is truly colorful and resembles closely what we have in Kerala. The top main picture, is it part of this trip? I remember to have seen a Spanish village,totally built in to the rocks,like that.

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    1. Doc, long time no see. Hope all's well.
      Yeah, Sri Lanka is similar to Kerala in many ways. The header picture was yes, part of the trip. Its a 1 BC cave temple in Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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  15. Wow, B!! Excellent pictures, all of them! Loved to read about the place!

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I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!