Kandy, also known as Maha Nuwara (Capital) was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese kings, until it was conquered by the British in 1815, after long lasted battle between the nations.
Even after the conquest by the British Kandy remained as the Sinhalese religious capitol, for Sacred Temple of Tooth or Dalada Maligawa was located in the city. The city is packed with Sri Lankan traditional industries, cultural landmarks and blessed with a rich history, hence it is considered the cultural capital of Sri Lanka.
Built within the Royal palace complex and houses the sacred tooth relic of the lord Buddha. The relic has played a major role in Sri Lankan politics since the early age. It was believed that the person secured the relic has the power to rule the country and becomes the protector of the religion and everything comes within.
Strolling around the Bogambara Lake considered one of the top things to do in Kandy town. Located right next to the Temple of Tooth its best enjoyed during early mornings with mild weather and less noises and activities.
Established in 1975 by the Sri Lankan Wildlife Department and in 1978 it was taken under the Zoological Department and eventually started the captive breeding programme. The objective of this programme is to provide a lifeline to the orphaned baby elephants, while simulating the natural habitat in a controlled and enclosed area.
The best visiting time will be during the feeding times which occur 3 times a day and the bathing times, happen twice daily.
Situated approximately 5.5kms from the Kandy city and houses over 10,000 plant species spread over 147 hectares. The park is renowned for its large number of Orchid varieties.
The garden was initially used as a court by king Wickramabahu followed by king Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe and later King Wimala Dharma built a temple, which was eventually destroyed by the British army after the takeover and used as a coffee and cinnamon cultivation and as the headquarters of Lord Mountbatten during World War II.
Spice gardens open opportunity to enjoy the Asian spices in their natural shape and form and taste the authentic Sri Lankan food prepared using these interesting ingredients such as, cinnamons, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and mace. Also herbs and other endemic medicinal plants can be found and studied in Spice Gardens.
This is the omnipresent pure white Buddha Statue that can be seen from anywhere in the Kandy City and in return when you get to the top you can see the panoramic view of the Kandy city. Located about 1km away from the town, Bahirawa Kanda or Gnome Mountain is best to visit at sundown when the whole town lit up making a spectacular sight.
This 104 hectares forest reserve was initially known as Uda Wasala Watta meaning the ‘Garden above the Palace’ in Sinhalese during the era of King Panditha Parakramabahu and King Wickramabahu. In 1938 the forest was declared a forest reserve and later made in to a sanctuary. In 1938 the forest was declared a forest reserve and later made in to a sanctuary. It’s a perfect place for birdwatcher and the nature lovers alike and ideal for travellers searching for activities to do within the Kandy City.
Situated 3 kilometres from the city, this ancient Tea Factory of Hantana Estate has been converted into a Museum and dedicated to the history of Sri Lankan Tea. Run by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, this museum exhibit an array of old machinery and the new machinery involves the tea manufacturing.
The building houses a café on the top floor, allowing you to sip a fresh cup of tea fresh out of the factory while enjoying the panoramic view of green tea fields surrounded by the knuckles mountain range and the Hantana Mountain.
Knuckles, named for its appearance of a knuckles in a closed fist, also known as Dumbara mountain range among Sri Lankans.
Knuckles mountain range, a World heritage Conservation area stretching over remarkable 155sq Km and contain five forest formations. This is home to mammals such as wild boar, spotted deer, giant squirrel, barking deer, purple faced leaf monkey, mongoose porcupines, number of endemic lizards and over 200 species of birds.
Packed with challenging terrain, magnificent waterfalls, camping areas and breath-taking views, Knuckles is hikers’ and trekkers paradise among foreign and local travellers alike.
Kandy Perahera is a must see sight, featuring bright golden and silver decorated majestic elephants and stunning traditional Kandyan dancers , Fire Breathers, Drummers and Jugglers followed by the Sacred Tooth Relic carried on elephant back.
Held during the month of July which is the month that is believed to commemorate the first teaching given by the Buddha after he attained enlightenment. The Perahera is held in 3 stages, Kumbal Perahera, Randoli Perahera, Maha Randoli Perahera and visitors from around the world comes to witness this fascinating event every year, flooding the whole city of Kandy.
Accessible from almost all major cities, cheapest way to travel is either by bus or train, available throughout the day. If you’re travelling from Colombo, you will be able to catch air-conditioned or normal busses from the Fort main bus stand, that leaves every half hour and the trains are available from the Fort Train Station.
Note: Trains times are available on www.railway.gov.lk/web/
Or if you prefer little bit more luxury, hire a car/van from a private company that can be found all around the country. But make sure you get a quote from few companies before choosing a one.
Like most of the other cities in Sri Lanka the best way to get around in Kandy is by a hired Scooty or by a tuk tuk. However when it come to the city centre and around the lake, it is best to have a stroll around to get an eye full of the local culture and the nature.