Highlights: Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Geragama Tea Factory, Temple of the Tooth, Cultural Show
One picture is worth a thousand words as I got to experience elephants enjoying themselves in a river.
We arrived at the Pinnawala Elephant
Orphanage just in time for their 10 am walk down to the river for their twice daily swim and water time. Watching such a big herd of elephants as the happily headed off to the water was something, the younger ones staying close to their parents. Our guide Manoj arranged for us to have front row seats in a local cafe overlooking the running river. Majestic creatures. A couple even rolled around in the water like a canine would, I didn’t realise to that moment how flexible and elephant can be, at least in water (see video).
The day had started well enough just with the drive to Pinnawala. This gave us a chance to see some amazing landscapes. Kandy is actually a small city so 5 minutes out this was the view.
On the way back to Kandy we stopped at the Geragama Tea Factory and learned how they make the different tea types. While I’m not into tea based on the smiles after sampling the tea and the number of purchases I believe everyone thoroughly enjoy this stop.
Back in central Kandy next up was a visit to the Royal Palace of Kandy but more commonly known as the Temple of the Tooth believe to hold the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. For that reason the Tamil Tigers bombed this place several times but never took it over. Additionally Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings so the Palace is the most grand in Sri Lanka.
As I left my sarong at the hotel I had to purchase another one to cover my legs for this site visit. As Buddhism is the state religion the President has responsibility for ensure the safety of the sites and the authorities are extremely strict on attire for such a visit. The group individually placed a lotus flower at the shrine of the Tooth of Buddha.
The last activity was to visit the Kanyan Cutural Centre for a display of the different dance styles of Sri Lanka and fire eaters and fire walkers. The performances were inspiring with a heavily focus on drum playing. The women in the performance had great singing voices and good dance moves.
We left the venue after 6 pm and had a short walk around the lake before catching the shuttle back to our hotel for the night. Unfortunately a few of the travel group had gastro, hopefully they will be right for the scenic train trip to Nuwara Eliya tomorrow.