The city which protects the world’s most sacred Buddhist shrine lies in the hill country in Sri Lanka – Kandy. This is the most famous city among tourists, not only because of the historical importance of this city, but also for the soft climate and natural resources around this city. Although there are hundreds of interesting locations situated in Kandy, I’ll list some of the most interesting places you must visit while you are in Kandy.
The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) & Royal Palace
In the heart of the city you could find the royal palace of the last independent kingdom of Sri Lanka. The Temple of the Tooth Relic, Sri Dalada Maligawa, is also situated near the palace just a few steps away. The temple holds one of the Buddha’s teeth which is worshipped and honored by Buddhists all over the world.
The Royal Botanical Gardens
Just about 5km away from the city you will find the largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya. This was once the royal garden of the Kandyan queen, hence the name remains as the Royal Botanical Gardens. Dimensions of this garden has extended to 147 acres and it is speculated that the garden consists of over 4000 species of plants.
Embekka Devalaya (Embekka Temple)
Although it is just another temple built for Lord Kataragama, this place is popular among travelers because of its magnificent wooden carvings of dancers, wrestlers, musicians, legendary beasts, and birds. The records of this building confirms that this temple was built in the 14th century. Carvings in Embekka Temple are considered as some of the best wooden art in traditional Sri Lanka.
This 14th century Buddhist temple is built on a rock with a long series of rock-cut steps to reach the temple. This marvelous building is built at a picturesque location and is considered as one of the best examples of traditional Sinhalese temple architecture.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
The sanctuary situated behind the Royal Palace is called Udawatta Kele. The forest contains a wide variety of plant species, birds, mammals, and sometimes reptiles inherent to Sri Lanka. Udawatta Kele is a famous destination among bird watchers as there are about 80 avifaunal species which can be found, including endemic bird species and threatened bird species.
Besides these places, there are many natural locations which attract tourists, such as the Knuckle Mountains, Hanthana Mountains, Mahaweli River, and the Victoria Reservoir. On the way to Nuwara Eliya town from Kandy, which is about 1 hour drive, you could find many charming waterfalls such as Baker’s Falls, St. Clair’s Falls, Devon Falls, Laxapana Falls, etc.
Although it is heavily crowded, the best time to visit Kandy city is in July and August, when the Esala Perahera Festival is being held. Esala Perahera is a unique parade festival celebrated around a 10-day period with elegant tuskers, elephants, dancers, musicians, fire-breathers, and jugglers. Everyone, including the animals in the procession, is dressed up with lavish garments and the whole parade colors up with fire and lights. Considered as one of the most beautiful pageants in Asia, the festival is celebrated to honor the Sacred Tooth Relic of lord Buddha and the four gods who guard the relic (Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama, and Pattini). It is wise to keep an umbrella while watching the festival as when the tooth relic trembles, rain falls island-wide.
The best way to visit Kandy is by train. Colombo to Kandy railway is considered as the best route in Sri Lanka as you could watch many scenic locations including waterfalls, mountains, tea estates, and subways on the way. If you decide to visit through train, be sure to book 1st class tickets from Fort railway station about 1 month prior to your tour for a hassle-free tour, else you will have to face troubles with crowds in the train.
Noorani is a freelance writer and a stay-at-home mum residing in a remote area in Sri Lanka. She enjoys researching various subjects and learning new things while spending time with her family. She loves to share information about her country, culture, and food with travelers around the world as she believes that Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to explore and enjoy. Feel free to contact her through Google+ if you need any assistance.