Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eva's Mailbox: Miscellaneous Correspondence from Near and Far #2

It's been a busy year thus far and I've found less time to blog than last year, but my mailbox via email, blog comments and facebook continues to receive a steady influx of correspondence. If you're wondering, I do appreciate the contact, questions, comments and feedback. And, I try my best to get back as quickly as possible with some helpful advice. Of course, I'm not the fount of knowledge on all things Sri Lankan by any stretch of the imagination but, where I have knowledge or experience, I'm more than willing to share what I know free of charge.

I thought it useful to further share some of these questions (in a broad sense) and my responses so the wider audience may benefit from them. I've edited my responses so they focus on the topic without the social aspects of my responses.  I've also excluded personal details or attributes that I feel some people may not wish to share in an open forum.

If you haven't seen my earlier blog post regarding correspondence, then you can read it here: Eva's Mailbox: Miscellaneous Correspondence from Near and Far #1

Please note - in reading my responses bear in mind these are my thoughts and suggestions. Take from it what is of benefit and where it may not align with your needs, set it aside.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Travel Monday: The Three-Temples Loop south-west of Kandy

Eva Stone photo, flower offering
On a wet and gloomy day in Kandy, I did one of the Three-Temples Loop as an outing with friends. These temples are some of the legacies of the Kandyan kingdom. There are actually at least two Three-Temples Loops around Kandy, including Embekke Devale-Lankathilake-Gadaladeniya and Gangarama Viharaya-Degaldoruwa-Galmaduwa Gedige. We visited the former trio of temples, which are situated about 12kms south west of Kandy. These were all constructed during the 14th century and have both Buddhist and Hindu influences.

On the weekends it can be really fun to take in some sights while catching up with friends, and this little circuit was a lovely way to spend the time. Apart from touring the trio of temples it was also interesting to see and explore the metal craft and wood carving common to these villages.

Although it was wet and gloomy, it did add an extra dimension to the experience - umbrellas, wet feet, foggy camera lenses, dodging rain drops, slipping on rocks, spending far more time gazing at murals rather than being tossed about in the rain, cooler weather lol etc... On the downside, none of my photos had any blue skies nor expressive cloud formations sad

If the weather was better, it's apparently quite nice to start at either Embekke Devale or Gadaladeniya (ending at the other) and complete the loop by a combination of vehicle and walking. Given it was wet on the day we visited, we drove from one temple to the next, starting at Gadaladeniya and finishing at Embekke Devale. Please note, there are nominal ticket charges for foreign tourists at each of the temples (Rs.200-300).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Randoli Perahera on Esala Poya in Kandy

Eva Stone photo, Esala Perahera, Kandy, Sri Dalada Maligawa, Temple of the ToothI was fortunate to be invited to attend the Randoli Perahera on Esala Poya last Sunday. It has to be said, there is something quite special about poya days in Sri Lanka. This one felt auspicious seeing as I was right amongst the thousands of pilgrims, guests (including the President who viewed it from a special stand at his Kandy residence), and travelers from far and wide to be part of the full moon offerings and celebrations.

If you've been following this blog, then you know I attended last year with friends. I wrote two long blog posts, which you can read in Travel Monday: Blessings from Kandy Esala Perahera August 2013 - Part 1 (gives an overview of my travel experience including the journey (to-and-from Kandy), logistics and what I did to prepare) and Travel Monday: Blessings from Kandy Esala Perahera August 2013 - Part 2 (my thoughts, information gathering and experience of the actual Kandy Perahera). I don't wish to rehash what I blogged last year, but if you're interested in the "ins-n-outs" of the Kandy Esala Perahera, I suggest having a read of these two blog posts.

I didn't bring my DSLR to take photos and videos. Last year I made a concerted effort to take photos and videos. So, this year I decided to travel light without toting my big camera and only arrived at Sri Dalada Maligawa around 5.30pm. I know many people had arrived much earlier in the day to find places, seats and spots with a good vantage of the Randoli Perahera. I was again lucky to be able to tag along with friends who had VIP tickets with seats within the Sri Dalada Maligawa perimeter with light refreshments served.