Monday, 9 August 2010

DAY SEVEN (7th August)

Tea and temples weekend...

After an eventful night of crunchy cockroach infested pillows, we had a traditional breakfast of string hoppers and dhal at the hotel, then had a brisk walk along the river to see a huge Dam. We then made our way to the centre of Kandy to change some money and pick up water for the day ahead.
Our first stop was the tea factory, set high in the hills it was a beautiful drive up surrounded by, tea plantations, peppercorn vines, tobacco plants and Teak Trees. Oode Wella Tea Factory was a traditional huge white colonial style building, with beautiful traditional machinery throughout, some made from wood stretching back as far as the 1800 or even earlier. The manager took us around and explained each step of tea production from the plucking of the buds and leaves to the drying, rolling, firing and grading resulting in 6 different grades of tea.
Close to the factory was The Tea Museum which housed ancient machinery and memorabilia showing the rise in popularity and value of tea and its production in Sri Lanka, we also got to sample a lovely cup of tea as we sat below a lovely wooden slatted roof.
On our way to the Botanical Gardens we passed through the Kandy’s University set in amongst beautiful tropical trees and manicured lawns, the University looked like a tranquil and inspiring place to learn.
The Botanical Gardens which was set out in an enormous area, was incredibly well maintained with bright flowers and towering trees cascading from every available space. We were very excited to stumble upon the mysterious Upas Tree which was beginning to feel like an elusive mythical story – The Upas tree is often called a Sack Tree – So Beth is very excited to start researching into this as soon as possible!
We had a really tasty lunch of rice and various spicy toppings before walking through the lush gardens, orchid house and saw some huge bats asleep in the trees!
We then took a ride to the close by market, which had fruit, leather, woven baskets, huge stalls full of ‘western’ clothing – and bought some lovely gifts our friends and family!In the evening we wandered up to The Temple of the Tooth, stored our shoes away safely and made our way up the temples carved steps into an ornately decorated shrine. We were lucky enough to see the beginning of their evening ceremony which involved percussion music to introduce the offering of foods and medicines to their god Buddha.

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