Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

As my new friend Cheng, "worked' at the temple (keeping the loos clean) and spent many hours there each day, I was very pleased when she offered to give me a personal tour of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth.
The Tooth Relic is shown three times a day. We chose to go to the 9:30 ceremony.There were hundreds of people waiting to go into the temple.

The Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa)is believed to house the left upper canine tooth of the Lord Buddha himself. While the outside of the Temple is quite simple the interior is absolutely magnificent.
The entire complex is surrounded by a moat and a beautiful wall which in ancient times would have little oil lamps lit during festivals.

When nine thirty arrives, the drummers start drumming and a trumpeter plays.

Everyone who wishes to see the Tooth relic lines up and files in in an orderly fashion into the Inner chambers.Bowls of lotus and jasmine petals are supplied and you are invited to file past and see the tooth relic and to pay your respects.

The relic rests on a gold lotus flower, encased in jewels and is on a throne. My guide whipped me passed so quickly and took me up to the library to meet her master.

 He was in the library.

At this stage one has to add more money to a big bowl. Cheng put some money in and took out some change. I did giggle at that!! I hope she adds and minus's correctly.

A moonstone
Flooring in the Temple.

Doors to the Inner sanctum
Just a few of the many cameos I had the privilege of seeing.

Eventually Cheng left me to wander around on my own as she had run out of "power" meaning energy. I was able to visit the  International Museum of  World Buddhism and the Archeological Museum.

Lastly I popped over to see the Resident elephant. I really don't like to see elephants chained up.the public were delighted to see him and were feeding him nuts so maybe he is happy.

All in all I had a wonderful day!
Apart from a little shopping, we just enjoyed the ambiance of Kandy, taking in our last memories of Sri Lanka before returning to Malaysia.

Kandy, Sri Lanka and my new friend!!

Our hotel was situated right the way over from the Kandy Lake and we spent many hours on the balcony enjoying the views it afforded us. The Lake was built in 1807 by the Sri Lankan King. It is steeped in stories and history.

 The lake is central to the life of Sri Lankans and is a wonderful place for a long walk as the trees surrounding the lake provide much needed shade.
It is home to a variety of birds i.e. ducks, cormorants, egrets, storks and pelicans.

The lake is filled with fish and they are fed by the public, but no fishing is permitted!!
 The far side of the lake is home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic  and the Queen's bath is situated partly in the waters of the lake.

Back at the hotel Warren was relaxing on the balcony when this "monk" started chatting to him. When I got back from my walk around the lake, he suggested I chat to the Monk but felt a little confused as the monk seemed to have an identity crisis. It turned out that the Monk is a Nun from Bangkok and spends several hours a day at the Temple of the Tooth. She referred to herself as a "puccini" and since then I have found out she meant Bhikkuni which is a fully ordained Buddhist Nun.

Cheng is quite a character. Within a very short while she shared with me as to how she became a Bhikkuni. She was born into a very successful Chinese family in Bangkok. Her family are well connected and have high standing in society. Cheng was rejected by her father and written out of the family estate. She then went onto to build up her own import and export business and traveled all over the world. While the cats away the mice do play and she found out that her husband had been unfaithful and had fathered a child by another woman. Cheng says she had a total breakdown, she describes it as "Losing her mind". This was the turning point in her life. She begged her Lord Buddha to give her back her mind and in turn she would serve him. Thus we have Cheng, the Bhikkuni.

Cheng says she has her own temple 60k's out of Bangkok, and anytime any of us or our family and friends want a bed and a meal, she would love us to visit her at her own temple!

The Hill Country and my Patchwork Buddha!


Leaving the well kept and delightful station at  Ella, I was delighted see an encased Buddha with little bits of Patchwork...thus my Patchwork Buddha!!

 The seven hour trip from Ella to Kandy is reputed to be one of the finest in Asia and although I would not know about that we were so impressed with the beauty of the countryside and were amazed at the ingenuity of the engineers who built and designed this railway route.

The Hill Country is truly beautiful with its tea plantations covering the hills, little waterfalls, dense forests, little villages where the people grow every kind of vegetable. the temperature is fresh and pleasant and the views are a feast for the eyes!

Pattipola is the highest station in Sri Lanka and is 1891m above sea level.

A huge water project being created on the outskirts of Kandy.

 The first five hours of the journey were wonderful but it began to drag during the last two hours as we had a difficult baby sitting opposite us. But who could blame her!!

We were pleased to arrive in Kandy and to find a pleasant place to stay!!

Taking to the Hills!

After enjoying the coast it was time to see what the interior of Sri Lanka has to offer. after couple of interesting bus trips we were on our way to Ella which had been recommended by many travelers.

The best part of traveling on buses is the music....loud, happy Sri Lankan music  plays as the bus goes along, all the plastic flower swing around and the case of little statues shine brightly, hopefully looking after all of us as the driver uses up my nine lives!!

The negative is that once again the bus is never full and more and more people are stuffed into the bus. we must have had three times the recommended number of passengers and the traffic police seem to be totally unperturbed.  Saint Christopher was foremost in my mind and he must have been listening as we arrived safely in Ella.

As the bus left the coastal region the terrain changed from lovely lush rice paddies to dry bushveld which reminded us of home. This in turn changed to verdant hills covered with tea bushes. In between the tea bushes I saw some of the tallest trees ever!!

Once we were settled in Ella, it was time to go exploring. We had heard of Adams peak and saw a sign for Little Adam's Peak and headed off in that direction. The route was not well sign posted but the locals kept pointing out where we should go. I am NOT a climber however all this looked so easy and I just kept going! A couple of workers took us on a short cut through the lovely green tea bushes.
We climbed and climbed and passed other climbers coming down who encouraged us to keep going.

All we wanted to do is get to the top and see what all the fuss is about!!
I climbed Adam's Peak...the little one!
Hooray...we are at the top of Adam's Peak.....surely there should have  been some sort of signage telling us something. All we saw was a signpost to the local restaurant.

Back at base I found out that this was just a little hill and the real Adams Peak is a long, long way away and is a HUGE climb, definitely not my kind of challenge. Oh well, a little delusion is a whole lot of fun!!