A sacred Buddhist city, cultural capital of the country and the last royal city of Sri Lanka are just some of its many virtues. A mesmerising tea estate and the lake at the hub add to the charisma of the city. The ancestry of this city traces back to 1357 CE when Vikramabahu III established the city and named it Senkadagalpura. Its history comprises of several wars and struggle for the throne. Portuguese, Dutch, English and a few South Indian Kings tried to seize this city.
ANY GUESSES, WHICH CITY ARE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT?
Kandy was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988 and is considered to be the religious and administrative capital of Sri Lanka.
The city is located in between multiple mountain ranges including The Knuckles and Hanthana mountain range. The artificial centrepiece Kandy Lake and the adjacent Udwattaa Kele Sanctuary along with the picture perfect tea plantation revamp the city.
The Kandy Lake dictates the arrangement of the city. Adjacent to the lake is the Temple of Scared Tooth, where one can witness one of the most significant Buddhist artefacts, a tooth of the Buddha. The temple complex houses many temples and museums.
Are you also influenced by Buddhism? Here we have something for you. Kandy is of paramount importance in the Buddhist religious atlas. The Malwatte Maha Vihar and the Asgiriya Maha Vihara hold significant religious value. The architecture of buildings and life style of the common folks are noticeably affected by the Buddhist culture.
The Tea Museum
Add a different flavour to your visit by experiencing the history and evolution in tea farming and tea processing techniques. A little off road from Kandy, the Tea Museum is restored on a vintage tea factory-The 1925 Hantane tea factory. Conventional methods of tea processing including Thomas Lipton’s are on display here.
Where to hang around
Kandy is unique in itself. In a country full of beaches and sea, it offers you a lot, an attractive lake, a Buddhist pilgrimage, array of museums, mountains and tea estates.
- The Lake – Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, that’s what they say. This lake does complete justice to the statement. It is an appealing site of the city and will grab your eye balls at an instant. The temple of the scared Tooth on the north side of it adds to the marvellous beauty of the lake. This is a man made marvel and was created by the last ruler of the kingdom Kandy in 1807.
- National Museum – The national museum of Kandy features diverse royal possessions of a bygone era along with the remains of the kingdoms and dynasty that ruled the city once. The museum takes us back to the pre European era and helps us visualize the royal and glorious times of the era. Apart from the National museum, Sri Dalada Museum seizes your attention.
Where to shop
Are you a shopaholic and can’t go without it?
Here, we have something for you. Visit the arty markets of this city, they are influenced from the royals of pre European era. Big shopping malls, several street markets and local shops selling original Batik are major attractions. Go buy antique souvenirs at the Kandyan Art Association and Cultural Centre. The Buddhist Publication and the Cultural Triangle are good places to buy books. Also, don’t forget to visit the Kandy City centre.
Where to Eat
Hello foodies, here we have some good news for you. Sri Lanka being enclosed by the sea offers a great variety of sea food. But Kandy is a little different in this context. From five star meals to spiced curries at food joints, Kandy offers a multiplicity in taste. The Empire Cafe, an old relic place to hangout is an excellent place to visit. The Bake House offers you an array of baked goods. Devon restaurant and the Sharon Inn both are high end restaurants with realistic rates. Kandy Muslim Hotel is famous for its samosas and ethnic spiced curries.
- Trekking in the nearby mountains – For hikers, Kandy provides amateurs to intermediate treks. From the summit, one can witness the panoramic splendour of Kandy. The lake in the middle and the attractive city surrounded with vibrant buildings makes it worth an experience. An early start is recommended and any travel or hike after sunset to remote areas should be avoided.
- Eshala Perahera: Buddhist Festival of Tooth – For an cultural enthusiast, witnessing a festival celebrated every year for the last 400 years would be a wish come true. The festival of Tooth is held in the month of August, starting from ten days before full moon. The Elephant Parade, dance, drums music and large social gatherings are the highlights of the festival. The relic was brought to Kandy by a South Indian prince for King Megavanna.
- Peradeniya Botanical Garden – Just a few miles from Kandy is the beautiful Peradeniya Botanical Garden, spread across 60 hectares. It is the largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka. A collection of orchids, coconut palm trees, spices garden, bamboos and royal palms add to the bio-diversity of the garden. If you would like to spend your day amidst nature and in peace, a tour of the garden is highly recommended.
Good to Know
- The remote areas and mountains should be avoided during night especially if you are a woman. Even a walk around the Lake after dark is not safe.
- Commuting around the city can be quite tiring. So, gather all the information about the place before leaving.