We’re Not Going to Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth. Next Door Is Better!

Sri Lanka Temple of the Tooth Kandy

Kandy’s Temple of the Sacred Tooth. We’re not going, it’s too expensive.

Some people out there must be shaking their heads and wondering why on earth we bothered coming to Sri Lanka if we’re not going to visit Sigyria, Dambulla, Pinewalla, The Temple of the Tooth and all the usual suspects.

Well, it’s simple, I like to experience a country, eat its food, find out about its culture and people and generally have a nice time, my way. I’m really not too bothered about seeing the big tourist attractions. Particularly when they’re an over-priced rip off. ( Sorry Sri Lanka, we love you, but they are!)

Plus of course, I’ve been before.

There are plenty of cashed-up package tourists doing their bit to put money into preservation of the sites, I’m keeping my money for Christmas, thanks.

So, after a substantial and delicious Sri Lankan breakfast at Devon Tea Rooms. No problems with Sri Lankan food in Kandy at all, it’s great. We went off for a wander with the vague idea of visiting the British Garrison Cemetery, somewhere behind the Temple of the Tooth and up the hill a bit.

Two hours later we found the cemetery and it was great, but what an amazing, fantastic and incredible two hours we had! I’m always saying you shouldn’t over-plan travel, allow yourself some wiggle room, because you never know what interesting things you’ll find. This morning was a prime example.

Kandyan Devales are Free!

Next door to the over priced Tooth Temple are the Kandyan Devales, a group of temple complexes that cover a sort of mixture of Hindu and Buddhist deities. We had to walk around or past them to get to the cemetery. But I just thought I’d have a little nosy first. There were soldiers and police on the door and heavy security, it looked to me like the Devales were shut off and covered by the Tooth Temple admission fee ( it’s 1000 Rs each) and we didn’t think we’d be going. But no, the nice police lady on the door beckoned us inside, free admission and a nice welcome. Love that!

I asked this morning on the Facebook Page what YOU would like to see more of. It’s 6 months exactly since we left Port Douglas to start this trip, the blog is taking off, bigtime and I’d really like some input and help on what you like to read. Well, mostly, you said photos. I’m cool with that, so here are a whole heap of them!


The first thing we saw when we came through the gate, rows and rows of lamps. We think we arrived on a special day, there were hundreds of people there, monks and priests were teaching and praying, drummers were drumming and horn players were horning.

My boys always want to join in whatever is going on. My rule of thumb is, if people are smiling, it must be OK. This priest in the Pattini Devale seemed pretty happy to give them a blessing. I think people like to share their customs, especially with children.



The smell of those butter lamps took us right back to Kathmandu, one of my favourite cities in the world. In these ancient Devales we were in a little time warp, away from modern Kandy, it was really lovely.


Another doorway with a surprise inside, a beautiful reclining Buddha. A lady kindly shared some flower offerings with us and showed the boys how to place them on the altar. The smell of jasmine is a lot nicer than butter lamp.



A sacred Bo tree or peepul tree. Buddha sat under one of these magnificent figs during his meditation and eventual enlightenment.


And then we had a bit of a surprise. This beautiful temple elephant was coming down the stairs from the Vishnu Devale and entering the Pattini Devale through a perfectly elephant-sized gate. Pattini is a goddess favoured by pregnant women and those wanting to ward off disease.




A pretty great way to spend the morning, don’t you think? It beats cleaning the bathroom.

I’m not totally convinced the elephant was very happy about standing round in a temple all day, but tradition is tradition.

The cemetery will go in its own post soon, Prince Charles had been there a few weeks before us, so it must be worth a visit. We’ve got a great guest house in Kandy( about $20), it has TV and a big sitting area so we can easily chill out there in the afternoons, I can work, the kids can get their fix of Clone Wars. Best of all, it doesn’t have BED BUGS! We had our first run in with them a few days ago in Ella.

We totally love Sri Lanka, so nice, wonderful place. Kandy and the Devales have been one of the highlights so far.

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  1. Suzi Hansborough says:

    Okay — your Rule of Thumb is awesome. The pics are great….and how sweet was that lady to give the boys flowers and show them what to do?! I LOVE your stories. I am curious about one thing: what’s the story with the chains on the elephant?

    • I think he or she, probably she, males can be dangerous, was just carrying it Suzi, so the mahout didn’t have to take it off completely. I’m yet to see a domestic or working elephant that isn’t chained at night. You don’t want them wandering off. Interestingly…we were thinking of going to the elephant orphanage at Pinnewala. I’ve been twice before and it was great but it costs a fortune (2000Rs plus) so we were weighing it up. James had a look on Trip Advisor and at least half the reviews were bad, talking about the elephants being chained. They certainly weren’t when I was there, other than the males in must, they most certainly HAVE to be restrained, they go nuts. It’s all very interesting. I read a great book once “Travels on my Elephant” about elephant husbandry and the mahout relationship. By Mark Shand. Give it a Google!
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