Things to do in Kandy
Kandy is known to be another historic city in Sri Lanka. Kandy was first established by the King Wickramabahu in the year 1357-1374 CE which was named as “Senkadagalapura” at the time. The last ruling empire of Kandy was the ‘Nayaks’ of Kandy while the Kingdom preserved its independence until it finally fell to the British in 1815. This ancient kingdom holds great importance as it is the home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha which symbolizes a 4th-century tradition that used to be linked to royalty since the protector of the relic was seen fit to rule the land. This historic land is filled with ancient treasures and sights with many stories. Not only is it home to the country’s most holy relic, but the city also offers numerous wondrous attractions and sights, from tropical forests to tea plantations and spice gardens, Royal Palace to Royal Botanical Gardens, Kandy is truly a sight to see.
The Temple of Tooth
The main attraction of the city and also the most sacred Buddhist establishment in Sri Lanka the Temple of Tooth Relic, where one of Buddha’s tooth is being kept and is built within the royal palace complex. The relic has played an important role in the local politics since ancient times and it’s believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country .Daily rituals are being carried out at various offering times to the shrine which will be one if a kind experience. The city is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO, partly due to the temple.
Watch the magnificent Esala Perahera
The Esala Perahera in Kandy is one of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals, featuring dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, throngs of devotees and extravagantly decorated elephants. This is in Esala (July or August), which is a month that is believed to commemorate the first teaching by Buddha after he attained enlightenment. The Perahera lasts for ten days which brings life and light to the city as the crowd is overwhelmed during this festive season. If you are in Kandy during the perahera season, the perahera is a must see where you can take so many memories back home.
Walk around Kandy Lake
Dominating the town is Kandy Lake. A leisurely stroll around it, with a few stops on the lakeside seats, is a pleasant way to spend a few hours. Kandy Lake also called as the “Milky Ocean” was artificially constructed by the last king of Sri Lanka and Kandy, Wikrama Rajasinhe, as an additional feature for the beautifully laid out Temple of Tooth complex. Several legends are connected to Kandy Lake and it is believed that the king installed a secret tunnel from its island to the palace. Nowadays, it remains one of the most highly visited sights in the country and, despite its location in the center of the bustling city, the lake makes for a wonderful spot to just sit and stare at the river & the Temple.
Visit the Lankatilaka Temple and Gadaladeniya Temple
Lankatilake temple is a magnificent building built on rock at a scenic location which also has fine paintings. Gadaladeniya Temple is a 14 century temple which is situated about 15Km from the town. The structure of the temple is influenced by the South Indian architecture and built on a rock. The stupa is on a high stone platform.
Visit the Embekke Temples
Embekke Temple is mostly renowned for wooden carvings of the 14th century shrine dedicated to God Kataragama. There is also a Buddhist temple on location. Almost the entire structures of some wooden buildings are decorated with dancers, musicians, wrestlers, legendary beasts and birds. Holding such skill and talent spread around this kingdom, Kandy is synonymous with arts and crafts of Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the country.
Best view from the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue
Bahiravokanda Temple is located on a hill, overlooking the city, lies Bahiravokanda Vihara. The statue is an 86 feet tall Big Buddha statue and one of the city’s most notable religious monuments. Visitors can climb to the top of the hill within an hour. Once you have reached the peak, bahivara kanda, or devil’s hill, offers panoramic views of Kandy and its surrounding area. The statue itself can be seen from most places throughout the city and is particularly enchanting at night when it is covered in light. Make sure to remove your shoes before entering the premises or join the devotees, who offer flowers or light oil lamps in reverence to the mighty Buddha.
Walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens
This Botanical garden is 6km from central Kandy. It has a fine collection of orchids, a stately avenue of royal palms, the extraordinary, aptly named cannonball fruit tree and 40m-high Burma bamboo. Another big hit is the giant Javan fig tree on the great lawn, with its colossal central trunk and umbrella-like canopy of branches. Many famous people such as Queen Mary
and Gandhi have planted trees in the Memorial Garden. Travelers are able to enjoy a truly memorable experience here.
Tea trails at Giragama Tea Plantation
Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most important tea producers and is home to numerous extensive tea plantations. It is worth taking a trip to one of the many tea factories to inspect the process up close and marvel at the beauty of the tea plants. Giragama Tea Plantation is located just outside of the city and provides an insight into the refinery of delicious teas, from green to Earl Grey. It is situated around 613 meters above the sea level and it also houses a tea museum. Visitors will not only be able to further their knowledge through a tour but they will also be given a taste of some of the finest tea.
Walk in Udawattakele Forest Reserve
Udawattakele Sanctuary or the Royal Forest Park of Kandy is situated on the hillside behind the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The forest was once served as the pleasure garden of the kings of Kandy. This forest extents about 257 acres and is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much populated Kandy City. The wildlife sanctuary is home to several species of mammals, reptiles and an impressive fauna. The reserve is home to numerous animals and birds including: mouse deer, jackals, porcupines and civets. Additionally it houses several important Buddhist meditation hermitages. The park is particularly popular with bird watchers and is of great educational value. The Sri Lanka Forest Department has installed two offices in the reserve which display posters and stuffed animals and where visitors can get more information about the life of the park. Udawattakele is a celebration of the lush jungles of Sri Lanka and its tropical nature and is one of the best reasons to get out of the bustling city.