Monday, July 1, 2013

Sri Lanka: Temple of the Tooth Relic

Our next adventure in Sri Lanka was a visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. This is an important Buddhist religious site that protects a holy relic from the Lord Buddha. It's said that when he died, parts of his teeth (a tooth relic) was saved from his burial pyre in India. Then, one of the princes of India fled to Sri Lanka with the relic hidden in his wife's hair. They came to Sri Lanka to avoid persecution and rescue the tooth relic. It is now housed in this temple and revered as a sacred relic. There is, of course, much more to the story, but this will give you the highlights.
Our first stop was one of the vendors outside the temple grounds selling piles of jasmine petals and lotus flowers you could give as offerings in the temple. Our guide purchased one and the vendor gave Brian one as well ... or so we thought. Then he chased us down to get his payment. :) Ooops.
A beautiful shot of the outside of the temple at dusk.
Inside the temple, the monks were playing drums really loudly. Each evening, there is a bit of ceremony as the monks deliver offerings to the sacred tooth relic. They are playing here outside a door to some stairs that will take the monks up to the tooth relic shrine, which is closed off to the public.
Here's a better shot of the door.
A table with the many flower offerings to the relic.
This is the best shot of the relic we could get. The place was absolutely packed and the relic is held in this gold shrine, which the public can glimpse through a window.  

It was an interesting visit, with much more to see than the photos suggest. Unfortunately, by now we were getting really tired - the long trip and jet lag were catching up so we weren't as alert and interested as we probably should have been.

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