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Kandy, a historic city in Sri Lanka, has great cultural importance. Tourists go there, not only to derive value from the cultural roots of Kandy, but also for the beautiful landscape, the photogenic architecture, and the spiritual ambience.
Enveloped in forests and hills, with Kandy Lake as the centrepiece, you will find many moments of sincere tranquillity. There are many things to do and see in Kandy. Out of all these places, Tooth Temple Kandy might be the most popular tourist attraction. Tooth Temple Kandy or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a religious site for Buddhist followers. People come from far and wide to see the other popular tourist spots, like the Royal Palace of Kandy, Kandy Lake, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Spice Garden, etc.
The Kandy festival is extremely popular with tourists and city-dwellers alike. This festival, locally known as Kandy Perahera is carried out in the form of a grand procession.
You won't get a chance to sit idle since there's so much to see and explore in this beautiful Sri Lankan city.
Location: Kandy District
Nearest Airport: Colombo
How to reach: by air/road/train
Famous for: Temple of the Tooth Relic, Sacred Buddhist Sites, Tea Plantations, Kandy Festival
Best time to visit: Oct to April & July/August for Kandy festival
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Royal Palace of Kandy, Kandy Lake, Galmaduwa Temple, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue, Spice Garden,Ceylon Tea Museum, International Buddhist Museum, Arthur's Seat, Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden, Lankatilaka Temple, Tea plantation tour, Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Vihara
History and Culture- The Kingdom of Kandy is an important and integral part of Kandyan history. The Mahanuwara Rajadhaniya or the Kingdom of Kandy was the last known independent monarchy of Sri Lanka. Kandy was the capital, and it resisted foreign suppression for around 300 years. This city witnessed monarchy for 2500 years; this has left its impact in the form of the culture, architecture, and famous structures of Kandy. The markets are always bustling with arts and crafts, handicrafts, metallic jewellery, silver and brass crafts, dancers, singers, and other such local crafts. The streets are lively and filled with shops arranged in random order.
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic- The temple is considered as one of the prime spiritual sites of Kandy. It was built in the 16th century and has been constantly modified ever since. The devotees pay their homage to Buddha's tooth, kept within a golden casket. Even the architecture of Tooth Temple Kandyis enthralling.
Royal Palace of Kandy- Built by Vikramabahu, this impeccable architecture is the last known structure made by a Sri Lankan king. Soon colonialism took Sri Lanka by storm, and the architecture scenario witnessed some major changes. Located near the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, it is a must-visit heritage site.
Kandy Lake- Kandy Lake, an artificial lake, built by Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, is truly the ideal site for a peaceful vacation. Surrounded by the Clouds Wall, with a beautiful island floating in the middle, and packed with palm trees, Kandy Lake is an unmissable treat for sore eyes.
Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue- Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue is essentially an eighty-eight feet high statue of Lord Buddha, situated on the Bahiravokanda hill. This all-white statue is visible from any corner of the city. The statue looks gorgeous in the evenings when it's lit by lamps.
Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden- Exploring the Royal Botanical Garden is a full-day affair. Apart from housing around four thousand different species of plants, the Royal Botanical Garden also houses the Giant Bamboo of Burma, the Cannonball Tree, and the Javan fig tree. It's a perfect tourist site for picnics as well as a romantic day-out!
Arthur's seat- Arthur's seat is a popular lookout point which offers a panoramic view of the entire city, the lake as well as the Royal Palace. People often come here to take in the view and click photographs.
Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Vihara-Situated amongst dense greenery, the Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Vihara is another one of Kandy's popular religious sites. This temple showcases the important phases of Buddha's life. It is a favorite among history buffs!
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage- Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage should be at the top of your list if you love animals. This orphanage caters to abandoned, orphaned and injured elephants. A popular breeding ground for more than ninety such elephants, the orphanage is a fun tourist spot. You can watch the elephants frolicking around, having fun, and playing with each other. It's a delightful sight!
Matale Spice Plantation Tour- Learn about the different spices of Sri Lanka, how they're grown, produced and processed, in the Matale Spice Plantation Tour. Take a walk through the units of the facility and take in the aromas of several spices, mixed in the air.
Tea Plantation Tour- Tea plantation is an important aspect of the Sri Lankan economy. Visit a tree plantation site with a guide; and explore the various steps in the process. The waterfalls, vast green expanses, and the scenic view add to the beauty of the tour.
Exclusive traditional dance performance-You'll have the opportunity to witness exclusive traditional dance performances. The dancers and drummers of Kandy are a true representation of their lively and festive way of life. The dances have colorful, bright costumes; the dancers are accompanied by drummers and fire-breathers. It is an entertainment-packed routine that'll lift your spirits and leave you in awe.
A train ride from Kandy to the Tea Country- This train ride might just be the most scenic ride ever. You'll see waterfalls, plantations and hills rush past you. This train ride is commonplace for the city-dwellers; you'll get an opportunity to witness the daily lives of fellow Kandyan travellers.
Kandy Festival-Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the grandest Buddhist festivals all over the world. Celebrated in the months of Esala, that is, July and August, this festival holds a special place in the hearts of Kandyan people. The entire city is decked like a bride and a grand procession is carried out to pay tribute to Buddha's golden tooth. The city is filled with flamethrowers, fire eaters, dancers, singers, jugglers, musicians, and grandly decorated elephants.
Where to Stay
The Grand Kandyan is a five-star luxury hotel, well-equipped with premium facilities. Expect the royal treatment in The Grand Kandyan. If you’re interested in elegant living, with a breathtaking view, Elephant Stables Hotel is the right place for you. It overlooks the city, and its grandeur is surpassed only by its pristine appearance. Built in 1804, Kandy House is an ancestral manor house, which overlooks vast expanses of paddy fields and lush greenery. Clingendael takes you back to the colonial era with its beautiful interior decor. Situated atop a hill, it truly exemplifies Sri Lankan architecture. Earl’s Regency is the perfect hotel for a premium five-star getaway! Santani Wellness Resort and Spa focuses on a holistic wellness program that will leave you relaxed. Kings Pavillion Luxury is all about bliss. A stay here makes for an indulgent vacation, amidst beautiful sceneries. Witness tea plantation fields, bird chirping and majestic mountains, right in front of your window. That’s what it’s like, staying at Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge. The Golden Crown is perfect for a chic and comfortable stay.