Monday, September 5, 2011

Temple Of The Tooth

Which came first, the temple or the tooth? Definitely the tooth. You are probably equally perplexed as I was the first time I heard of this Buddhist temple's name. So how important is this tooth relic to be housed in such grandiose temple sitting on The Royal Palace complex?

Well, it's believed that whoever possessed it had the divine right to govern the land. Now that's one powerful (canine) tooth, I must say. So whose was it? Lord Buddha's.

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Temple Of The Tooth (17th century). Kandy, Sri Lanka. According to legend, Buddha's tooth was "snatched" by a monk named Khema from the funeral pyre. In the 4th century, after being passed on to different people, the sacred tooth relic fell into the hands of King Guhaseeva who asked his daughter and son-in-law to smuggle it from India to Sri Lanka for safekeeping.

Our stroll along the Temple Of The Tooth's grounds was magical, as we were showered with nadeshiko pink flowers that fell from trees. I imagined myself in a snow globe. Around us were herds of local pilgrims carrying floral arrangements and oil, which are essential Buddhist offerings.

Human traffic ushered Shervin and I toward the temple entrance. Because of the 1,000 LKR admission fee, Shervin chose to wait outside. By the garden where he contentedly watched the trees' swaying branches, crows and pigeons fluttering about, and worshippers making their way to holy refuge.

I deposited my flip flops at a booth beside the ticket counter and followed a group of German tourists that was being led by a Sri Lankan German speaking guide. We entered a smokey corridor with multihued walls ornately painted that directed us to the two-storey sacred relic tooth shrine.

The tooth, because of its sacredness, is obviously not on display for the public to see. It is encased in a stupa-shaped gold casket, kept in a room where visitors may only have a quick peek. I left the viewing to the curious Germans (the door was blocked by a huge crowd anyway and didn't seem like it'll be cleared anytime that afternoon) and wandered off to a series of halls until I ended up in a gallery.

Around the gallery are paintings that depict the tooth relic's history. At one end of the long hall are structures of Buddha in various forms, where I read a sign that says: "Shooting photographs of persons in this hall is not allowed". Okay, that got me chuckling thinking. Now if we interpret this sentence literally, oh boy lemme tell you, a bunch of Sri Lankans who took heaps of photos of me with their mobile phones clearly disregarded such warning.

I dashed out of the gallery to uhm, escape the paparazzis and exited a door to get to the other side of the temple complex. On my way out, I passed by Magul Maduwa, a royal assembly hall built around 1784 with wooden pillars that exhibit Kandyan wood carving.

From there, it took me five minutes to get back to the shoe minder's booth. I retrieved my flip flops after I was forced to give a tip (he was very upset with my 5 LKR token of gratitude) and met up with Shervin where I left him.

I relayed to him what I just witnessed. Although the temple didn't land on my fave temples list, the place's sacredness because of the tooth relic's presence made me feel privileged to be even allowed inside. As I continued my recollection, we headed to Temple Square Street. Along the way Shervin picked a flower and tucked it behind my ear. For the past few days, dusk was never this beautiful.

It was around six in the evening and we had one hour until our hired tuktuk driver picks us up. It was an opportunity for us to explore the city for the first time, and finally feed our famished selves.

Not-So Refreshingly Sri Lanka (and it's all my fault) Series:

The Kandy House
Not-So Refreshingly Sri Lanka
How To Apply For A Sri Lanka Tourist Visa In The Philippines


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Aleah said...
September 7, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Super mahal naman pala. How much is that in Php? Kawawa naman labidabs mo, di nakapasok hehe

Gladys | said...
September 7, 2011 at 5:15 PM

intriguing lead in... wow, such an important tooth, ha. i should have saved my son's tooth when he was younger, baka he might end up famous someday. hehe!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 7, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Aleah, about P500. He's not too obsessed with temples naman so it's alright with him. Plus I had an awesome lone time wandering. It was a short, spiritual journey for me.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 7, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Gladys, haha! He might! Maybe keep a lock of his hair instead?

supertikoy said...
September 7, 2011 at 6:57 PM

ang ganda naman ng loob ng temple. san pa kaya yung ibang ngipin ni Buddha. sa Singapore meron ding Buddha Relic Tooth Temple and ang laki rin ng temple

chino said...
September 7, 2011 at 7:35 PM

wala na akong masabi kundi wow!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 7, 2011 at 7:56 PM

You're right Jerome, there's one in Singapore. Also in Japan, Taiwan and China :)

RON | said...
September 7, 2011 at 8:50 PM

ayan parang napasok narin namin ang temple, kasi we skipped this one. when monette heard of the entrance fee, she simply said: "OK, we wouldn't be allowed because of what we are wearing anyway. let's just buy some lion lager and sit back in our balcony, shall we?"

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 7, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Haha! Well Ron, if we got an awesome hotel room like yours, we would have just stayed indoors.

I came prepared, by the way. I wore long pants and brought a pashmina to cover my shoulders.

September 8, 2011 at 12:22 AM

The pics give me goosebumps,, what a great place! very Asian ang dating.. exciting, feels like a great cultural experience.

Jonna | The BRATpacker said...
September 8, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Ang ganda ng colors especially the walkway! So enchanting :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 8, 2011 at 12:09 PM

You captured the right word Jonna, "enchanting" :)

shirt.quote.toh said...
September 8, 2011 at 10:41 PM

WOW! yun lang po... bow!

Nelieta said...
September 9, 2011 at 1:25 AM

This is a beautiful temple! A very interesting story and thank you for sharing it :)

joan / the backpack chronicles said...
September 9, 2011 at 3:31 AM

ang ganda ng details nung temple. kabog na kabog!! at ang sosyal na ngipin na yun, may templo pa para sa kanya!!

Ed said...
September 9, 2011 at 7:35 AM

wow na wow na wow! at least pinayagan ka rin ni shervin na magsolo. hehe. solb na rin ako sa virtual tour na ito. hehe :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 9, 2011 at 7:55 AM

No worries, Nelieta!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 9, 2011 at 7:56 AM

Joan, what's amazing to me is, how they were able to safekeep it. Something teeny like that could easily get lost!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 9, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Ed, yeah! I enjoyed that lone moment.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
September 9, 2011 at 9:11 AM

the sight of those nadeshiko pink flowers reminded me of cherry blossoms in spring. the temple would certainly look even prettier with more of those trees around.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 9, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Same here Dennis! I would love to see cherry blossoms in Japan or Korea someday...

Ding said...
September 9, 2011 at 5:37 PM

beautiful temple! eto ang mga trip ko! P500 is way too much nga...

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 9, 2011 at 8:47 PM

It is :( And visitors can't get even near the tooth.

*mOmOt KuYiT* said...
September 10, 2011 at 1:34 AM

"Shervin picked a flower and tucked it behind my ear"... aawww ang sweeeeetttt :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 10, 2011 at 7:15 AM

Hihi, yeah! But uhm, that doesn't happen often :P

Belle said...
September 14, 2011 at 5:11 AM

Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for fellow Filipinos that have visited Sri Lanka for leisure...and on a budget too! I'm so glad I found your blog :)

Wanted to find out a couple of things like your itinerary, etc. We're just staying for about 6 days 5 nights and wanted to make the most out of it!

Hope you could help me with info :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 14, 2011 at 7:48 AM

Hi Belle, we just spent about P6,000 for 6 days in Sri Lanka. But we couchsurfed for 2 nights at a local's place. What type of activities do you guys like? We saw 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites but we were constantly on the road. Our itinerary's pretty tiring.

Belle said...
September 20, 2011 at 2:27 AM

I would love to see Galle and some tea plantations, but definite priority are the World Heritage sites. What itinerary would you recommend and would you have details on transportation? I was thinking we might need to charter a driver, but wanted to experience public transport if it's cheaper and doable. Any recommendations?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 20, 2011 at 5:27 AM

Galle is near Colombo but distant from other World Heritage Sites since it's down south. Buses and trains are quite easy to find, but if you want to cover as much as you could, rent a vehicle. Public transport is cheap. We did Kandy-Anuradhapura-Sigiriya-Dambulla-Galle (from Anuradhapura, train to Galle is 8 hours if I remember correctly) then Colombo. We were constantly on the road.

D. Ordonez said...
September 29, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Ganda ng shots!! nice travel! Please follow my travel blog too -

Elal Jane Lasola | The Shades of Grey said...
September 30, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Ang ganda ng place, it has a cute name and an interesting story behind it! Cool :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 30, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Hey gurl! Just read your email, will do it tomorrow :)

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