Kandy with its Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Sri Lanka
Leaving the Immigration department at 16h40, we took a meter tuk-tuk to go to the Fort Railway train station. It took us 20 minutes for 160 rupees (1 euro - one of the tuk-tuk without meter asked us 500 rupees) so we had time to buy our express train ticket for the last afternoon train from Colombo to Kandy departing at 17h45. After 3 days in Colombo with its extension visa, we were very excited for our next adventure.
No first class, only 2nd (190 rupees - 1,20 euros) and 3rd class (105 rupees - 0,70 euros), we bought 2nd class thinking that we will have a seat. Innocents we were, no free seats, very full even coming with 45 minutes in advance, we thought that we would do the
3h30 trip standing up but we made only the first 1h30, then, when people started to get off, seats starting to be free.
If you are looking to a bathroom, in the train, there are some but I will say, use it only if really really you can't stand. The other solution, before to get in the train, in the station, there are bathroom for foreigners, normally it is closed so you have to ask the key to the employees by going directly to their office.
To find the toilet, once you are inside the station, go left, you will pass in front of the offices and just after them, you should spot the sign, you can't miss it because it is clearly written "foreigner toilet".
We arrived at Kandy (last stop) at 21h10 so now, we had to go to our hotel Kandy Supreme Hotel (63, rajapihilla mawatha - 45 euros per night). According to Google Map, it is just 16 minutes walking but it doesn't say that it is up to a hill and half of the section has no light.
We took a tuk-tuk sent by the hotel for 300 rupees (1,90 euros). The room is clean with a great view on the city and on the big Buddha but I won't recommend to people who need to sleep. We didn't need to put an alarm because, next to it, there is a college so very noisy starting at 6h30am and at 7h30 they start to sing before to study and our room has a slim translucent curtain that let the day light coming in. The funny thing is that there is a paper warning about monkeys, because our room has a small terrace and monkeys can come to "play" with you.
We visited the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (temple square) also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, to get in, the security guy doesn't allow people to go through with a short pant and a sleeveless t-shirt (for children no problem). My wife brought a scarf and I went to buy a local pant for 500 rupees (3,10 euros).
If you need a guide, just at the entrance there are some proposing their service, in our case, we didn't take one.
Once inside, we visited the different free areas, there are small temples that we entered removing our shoes. Once done, we went to the main one, there are a stand to let your shoes, one for local before the security and one for foreigners after the security. After that, we bought our ticket for 1000 rupees each (6,20 euros).
To see the sacred tooth of Buddha protected by a gold casket and to enter to sacred rooms, you have to be at:
- 5h30 and 7h
- 9h30 and 11h
- 17h30 and 19h
To see the gold casket and not the tooth because it is protected inside, you will have to go to the first floor by making the queue and the sacred rooms are downstair. We didn't come between those time tables so we went to see the guy who stamped our ticket and asking him if it was possible to come back at 18h with the same ticket and kindly, he told us no problem.
So we left the temple to go to lunch after taking back our shoes. The guy who keeps them asked money saying "donation" showing a box, we gave him 40 rupees (0,30 euros) but it seems that he kept it for himself. Anyway, up to you to give something or not, I saw some few people who didn't give anything.
To lunch, we went to the Kandy Muslim Hotel (sri dalada veediya) and I ordered a beef kotu for 240 rupees (1,50 euros). One of the typical local plates, quite spicy (if you don't like spicy, you can ask without) and quite big.
Now that our stomach was filled, we went quickly to the Kandyan Cultural Centre (72, sangaraja mawatha) to watch a kandyan dance for 1000 rupees each (6,20 euros). There is only 1 session from 17h to 18h. Meanwhile heading to the place, there was a local guy following us and talking to us until the entrance even if we said nothing or we made ugly face, he was still there. To buy our ticket, he told something to the guy in his language but we said to the ticket guy that he is not with us.
The dance session is composed of 11 acts, all dancers and drummers are dressed with traditional costumes and it ends with the walk on fire. This walk represents the virgin walk of Sita, a princess promised to Rama, the seventh avatar of the Hindu God, but she was kidnapped during years by Ravana, the demon king.
Costumes are nice but the show itself is not so good. If you want to see it, follow the lake and you will spot it on your left, it is very near to the sacred tooth temple.
There is no way to miss the Kandy Lake since it is situated near to both sites. In the town, there is a big supermarket at the main street (sri dalada veediya) where we bought an umbrella (because it was raining), water and food. In fact, in this street, we found a lot of things, shops, market, places to eat including KFC, etc.
Contrary to Colombo, there are no meter tuk-tuks so each time we took one, we asked first the price before to get in. If we were not pleased, we negotiated it until agreement or not. Time to leave the city of Kandy to Nuwara Eliya with its Lovers Leap waterfall.