Sri Lanka tour (Days 5,6 &7)
On the morning of 20/1/17 we left Hotel Sea Lotus Park in Trincomalle for our next destination, Kandy. The initial iteneary given by Sri travels mentioned visits to Shankaridevi sakthi peetam and Balaji temple in Trincomalle area on our way to Kandy. But the final iteneary given by NKAR travels did not mention Balaji temple. So the driver wanted to skip Balaji temple and some in the group wanted to visit the temple. There was a big argument on this and finally the driver relented and took us to Laksmi Narayana temple and quietly skipped sakthipeetam which was noticed only later and we had to reconcile to the accomplished fact.
Lakshmi Narayna temple is a big South Indian style temple 6 Kms from Trincomalle. It is a recent construction of striking blue and sparkling gold with intricate carvings and colourful structures, that had its Kumbabhishekam in 2011 only. In the main shrine were Lord Vishnu and Devi Mahalakshmi and outside stood the idol of Garuda. In the prakara and outside the shrine were the statues of the Lord in various manifestations including the one reclining on Adisesha. That being a Saturday we were very happy to have darshan of Lord Vishnu and his consort in different manifestations in the morning.
After offering prayers in the temple we again took the road to Kandy. We made a visit to the garment factory before lunch halt. We also stopped for a photo shoot at a wayside Buddhist temple with its imposing Buddah facing the road. After the late lunch, we stopped at Ranweli spice garden, Matale. A guide accompanied us as we went round the garden, explaining the medicinal values of different plants. Sri Lanka is well known for its spices and herbs and this visit was quite an educative one. After the customary whiff around the gift shop we were off to continue our way to Kandy. In Kandy we attended a cultural show after a brief visit to a Gem gallery. Cultural show was a colourful one but as we reached the place late we could see it only partly. It was getting late by the time show ended but still we went to the temple of tooth which was a mistake. It was Puja time and we could not see the main shrine in spite of our waiting for some time. We had to leave the place for the hotel for dinner and night-halt, after going round the minor shrines only. When we reached the hotel we found we were allotted rooms in a sub-standard annexe euphemistically called resort. This led to exchange of angry words but there was no change in position. To add to this the dinner was served in the annexe late at 9-30 pm only. Fortunately the breakfast was in the main hotel next day and it was good like all the buffet breakfasts in the tour. One other saving grace in the miserable episode was the pleasant face put up by the manager, who was coolly repeating the same thing in spite of our angry protests. Our feelings ran differently when we saw a van of NKAR travels leaving the hotel with guests in the morning. We felt such a change of accommodation is not uncommon to people who do not book with them directly and the manager accustomed to outbursts of temper in such cases was not perturbed. So we were glad to leave the hotel for Nuwara Eliya that morning hoping such an experience will not recur again. And we also did not insist on going to Murugan temple, which was in Sri Travels iteneary but not in that of NKAR Travels.
On the way we made a brief visit to a Buddhist temple on the way. We also visited a tea factory where besides being taken round the factory we were also entertained to a free cup of tea. Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill country of Sri Lanka and journey to it uphill was reminiscient of road trip to Ooty in Tamilnadu. Waterfalls and tea gardens on the sides of the road, the sharp bends with ups and downs and the coolclimate made it a very enjoyable journey. On the way we visited the Hanuman temple at Ramboda. Ramboda is the area, where the forces of Sri Rama are supposed to have assembled in the fight against Ravana. This temple was built by the Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka and dedicated to Sri Hanuman. The idol of Sri Hanuman is 16 ft. tall. The view from the temple outskirts is very fine. Chinmaya Mission runs a canteen as well nearby and we had our lunch there. After Colombo this was the next satisfactory lunch that we had. After lunch we retired to the hotel of stay, Gregory Bungalow and because of the rain we did not go anywhere, later. This is the first day of the tour where we enjoyed afternoon rest and evening chat in the hotel hall.
Photos of Kandy and Trincomalle @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/sam-sekar/albums/72157679960739116