We arrived in Pinnewala at 9am, just in time to watch the 9.15am feeding of the elephants in the Pinnewala elephant orphanage. We watched a couple of young elephants being bottle-fed. For a few extra rupees you could feed a bottle of milk to one of them. The youngsters knew what was coming and almost swallowed the bottle in their eagerness to get at the bottle’s contents. In a nearby pen there were two new arrivals in the shape of 2 babies, which had been rescued from irrigation wells. Sadly, babies falling into irrigation wells happens quite often and often too, they are not found in time to be rescued.
Then we watched the herd of elephants feeding – with lots of babies – before they were taken down to the river to bathe. For another small fee you could have your photo taken with an elephant and I couldn’t believe the stupidity of some people who seemed to think they could just go wandering around amongst the elephants, they are after all wild animals!. There are some 80 elephants there although we didn’t see anything like that many, but it was an impressive sight all the same. They were then led down by the mahouts to the river to bathe. Watching them in the river was a fantastic sight.
There is some dispute about the elephant orphanage’s status as orphanages aren’t supposed to encourage breeding but with so many elephants I can’t see how this can be avoided!
We left mid-morning to drive to Kandy which is situated up in the hills. We stopped off to visit the botanical gardens at Peradeniya, which were somewhat disappointing after visiting similar gardens in Singapore and Chiang Mai. I thought there was a very poor selection of orchids on show in the orchid house and the cactus house was locked up.
However, I was interested to see this
tree with clumps of pinkish flowers that opened straight off the branch looking like pompoms
and a tree called Napoleon’s Crown which had rosette-like flowers growing directly on the trunk.
After a couple of hours we had seen more than half the garden and were beginning to feel tired but the few seats that there were in the grounds seemed to be occupied by courting couples taking their lunch break from the nearby college. I don’t think January is the best month for seeing these gardens at their best.
We arrived in Kandy at 1.30 just as the schools were disgorging their pupils into the pavement-less narrow roads. I don’t think I’ve seen so many schoolgirls gathered together in such a small area, there must have been thousands of them.
It transpired that the boys’ schools are in another part of town but the girls definitely outnumbered the boys. It took quite a long time to get to the hotel, the Queen’s Hotel, a colonial style building on the edge of the lake and close to the tooth relic shrine.
The hotel is a popular place for weddings and several took place during the couple of days that we were there.
We didn’t see the bride on this occasion.
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