Sri Lanka is a small island only 29 kilometers from India’s eastern coast. It is 77% Buddhist and the national language is Sinhalese. Sri Lanka was colonized by the Portuguese, then later the Dutch, and finally the British until independence in 1948. The British called the country Ceylon, which is why the famous tea from Sri Lanka is called Ceylon tea. Sri Lanka is known for cinnamon, blue sapphire, and of course, Ceylon tea. There are 22 million people on this small island and volleyball is the national sport.
Kandy is considered the cultural heart of Sri Lanka. Its highlands surround a manmade lake that adds to its beauty. The sacred tooth relic is held within The Temple of the Tooth, containing one of the Buddha’s four canine teeth. We witnessed offerings by hundreds of people and drummers circling the temple.
One night we went to a traditional cultural show, full of drumming, dancing, and elaborate costumes. The show ended with some crazy fire tricks!
We also stopped at a gem shop, where we learned how precious and semiprecious gems are mined in Sri Lanka and the elaborate process of turning those raw gems into jewelry. As mentioned above, Sri Lanka is particularly well known for blue sapphires.
We took a short drive up the surrounding hillsides to get a better view of the town.
We stopped at this small Buddhist temple along the drive from Negombo to Kandy.