Things to do in Kandy

by Lalantha Wijerathne

Kandy, one of Sri Lanka’s major tourist destinations, is the second largest city after the Colombo. The city of Kandy is known as the cultural center of Sri Lanka. Considering it’s cultural and historical value, It has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. In addition, Kandy is situated in the hill country at an altitude of 488 m and is located at a distance of about 115 km from Colombo. Located in the Kandyan Plateau surrounded by mountains, the city is an administrative and religious point in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The city’s heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine, the Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the most popular cultural festivals organized by the Sri Dalada Maligawa. 

In the city of Kandy, there are a few places you can reach easily. Sri Dalada Maligawa, Sathara Maha Devala, Senkadagala Royal Palace, Kandy National Museum, Udawattakele Sanctuary, World Buddhist Museum and Bogambara Prison. Besides, the Kandy clock tower, the historical water tower, the Giragama Walawwa, the Ehelepola Walawwa, World War I monument can listed as must-visit places for visitors in Kandy. Anyone exploring these places will find a lot of interesting and interesting stories centered around them. With these places, there are some unique places to visit in Kandy that anyone who has interest to feel the uniqueness of Kandy. 


Sri Dalada Maligawa

The Sri Dalada Maligawa is the Dalada Maligawa where the Tooth Relic of the Buddha is placed. The present Dalada Maligawa is located in the sacred city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. During the Kandyan Kingdom (1592 to 1815 AD), it was housed within the royal palace complex. The Sri Dalada Maligawa was first built by King Wimaladharmasooriya (1592 to 1604 AD). The Sri Dalada Maligawa which he built was destroyed by the Portuguese invaders. The present old two storied palace was built by King Sri Weera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707 – 1739 AD). Even the Tamil kings from the Nayakkar dynasty who came to visit the temple developed and preserved the Dalada Maligawa. The city of Kandy, where the Temple of the Tooth is situated, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. The exterior of the palace has been protected by trenches. 

Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy is a great resource for the artists who are interested in art traditions. These paintings help to identify the features of the art tradition that the art critics call the Kandyan art form. These paintings arise from a simple, authentic, folk art tradition unique to the Sinhala artists. 


World Buddhist Museum


The World Buddhist Museum in Kandy, Sri Lanka is the first international Buddhist museum in the world. It is located near the National Museum of Kandy and Sri Dalada Maligawa. There are Buddhist artifacts related to Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bhutan and Afghanistan. 


Kandy Lake Round

Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake (Nuwara Wewa, Bogambara Wewa or Milky Ocean) was built by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1807 near the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The size of the tank has decreased over time and is currently a protected reserve. There are many legends associated with the Kandy Lake. King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe had begun the construction of the cloud wall around the tank, but was unable to complete the construction of the wall due to the British invasion of Kandy in 1815 and the king’s imprisonment. The clouds wall still remains in the same unfinished state with a length of 2060 feet. And at the center of the lake, there is a small island with flowers and trees with ancient constructions. This small island has used as a summer palace by ancient kings of the Kandyan Kingdom era.


National Museum of Kandy


The building in which the National Museum is located in Kandy is called the “Palle Vahala”. This building, which dates back to the 19th to 19th centuries, is also known as the Palace of Anthapura (house of the king’s wives) which was inhabited by the queens of King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe. This building is one of the most important examples of Kandyan architecture. Established in 1832 by the Kandy Art Society, the building was used for the preservation of artifacts of cultural and historical value and was opened to the public in 1942 as a museum. The museum has a collection of about 5000 artifacts representing various cultural and historical aspects of Kandyan period (17th-19th century AD).


Udawattakele Sanctuary

Udawattakele Sanctuary

Located less than a kilometer from the city of Kandy, this forest is about 105 hectares and managed by the Forest Department. Udawattakele Sanctuary can be described as a biodiversity hotspot. There are 03 main layers of canopies as emergent layer, canopy layer, understory layer and also forest floor in this sanctuary. 405 species of plants, 81 species of endemic and endangered species of birds, 75 species of rare butterflies and 21 species of reptiles can be found in the Udawattakele Sanctuary. The important places in Udawatta Kele are the The water Pond, Highest peak “Kodimale”, and the Garrison cemetery. Monks have been meditating in this sanctuary for hundreds of years. As a result, there are several Buddhist temples, caves including the Senkanda Cave and hermitages inside the forest reserve. 

Tickets must be purchased for admission to the Udawaththa Kele Sanctuary, open to the public from 7.30am to 5pm throughout the year. 


Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya

Botanical Garden of Peradeniya

The Peradeniya Royal Botanic Garden, currently known as the most popular botanical garden in Sri Lanka, sprawls over an area of ​​147 acres (59 hectares) and is visited by 2 million tourists every year. It is located at Peradeniya, 110 km from Colombo city and 06 km west to Kandy city. 

It receives an annual rainfall for 200 days out of 365 days of the year. Its history dates back to 1371 AD. King Vikramabahu III’s court was located near the Mahaweli river in the area where the park is today. It is also said that a temple was built by King Wimaladharmasooriya on this site and later Sri Lanka surrendered to the British Crown in 1815 and British colonialists destroyed it. The land needed for a botanical garden was laid by Alexander Moong in 1821. In 1912, it was vested in the Department of Agriculture. Ancient palm trees can be seen here and the first tea plant in Sri Lanka was planted in this garden. The park was built by the British to pay for their free time.

The park is famous for its orchid species. There are more than 4,000 species of plants here. Among them are herbs, spices, palm trees and orchids. 


Nelligala International Buddhist Temple


Located at a height of 700 meters above sea level and 11 km from the city of Kandy and 7 km from the Peradeniya town, this sacred place is truly beautiful and calm in its literal sense. This land which had been a dense jungle in the past, was officially handed over to create a Buddhist center by the Government on October 22, 2014 as the International Buddhist Center of Nelligala, after six years of continuous suffering. Situated at the top of the Nelligala Mountains, the scenery is breathtaking. In a one side Hanthana mountain range, the Hunnasgiriya mountain and Knuckles mountain range, the Kurunegala area on the other side, Andagala, Alagalla mountain range, Bible Rock, Ambuluwawa, Attipala, Raxawa Mountain Range, Sri Pada mountain, Piduruthalagala mountain are clearly visible. If you can go when the sun sets in the morning or go down in the evening, you can see the most beautiful scenery that filled with misty clouds. 


University of Peradeniya  


The University of Peradeniya is one of the oldest universities in Sri Lanka. It was established in the year 1942 and was named as the University of Ceylon. University of Peradeniya is one of the most beautiful universities in the world by classifications. The University of Peradeniya is also the largest university in Sri Lanka which is spread over 2000 acres. Bordering Hanthana Mountain on the one hand and the Mahaweli River flowing slowly on the other. It is no secret that the grandeur of the architecture was based on these natural base. 


Hanthana Mountain Range


Hanthana mountain range is an important ecological hotspot in hill country of Sri Lanka and It is located to the southwest of the historic city of Kandy. Since 2010, the area around the beautiful mountain range has been declared an environmental protection zone. This mountain which is constantly surrounding in the mist is popular among university students and they call it “Adara Kanda” (mountain of love). The University of Peradeniya has been built on the slope of the Hanthana mountain range. It is common for students from other universities to take the first year tour to Hanthana mountain range. They also receive guidance from fellow students of University of Peradeniya. Hanthana mountain range extends from Kandy city to Galaha town. This mountain range belongs to Ganga wata korale, Pathahewahata, Udapalatha and Delthota divisional secretariats. The western slopes of the Hanthana mountain range act as one of the most important water sources to the Mahaweli River. It is located at an elevation of 1240 m (3720 ft) above sea level and is separated from the tributaries of the Mahaweli River. The highest peak in the Hanthana Range consisting of seven hills is Uragala Peak. The climb up the mountain and then to the top of each other is difficult, but it is a beautiful experience.  At the top of the hills, you can also see a magnificent view of the Kandy City and the river Mahaweli and the way it flows. From there you can see the central hills including Knuckles mountain range and the Sabaragamuwa hills including the Dolosbage mountain range in the Aranayaka region. 


Agro-Technology Park in Gannoruwa

As you approach Peradeniya, the first sight is the view of a park on the right side. It is the Agriculture Technology Parks in Gannoruwa. The government owned restaurant chain called Hela Bojun Hala is a frequent tourist attraction. In this area the Agro-Technology Park is located in the Department of Agriculture, spread over two blocks of land. It is considered to be the first agricultural park in the world. It opened in 2004. The park is open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

It is a great place to get new knowledge about agriculture and to heal the mind. Here you can learn about greenhouse farming, fruit garden, banana garden, beekeeping, malum garden, gliricidia energy, agro museum, chena cultivation, herb garden, plant genetic resources, dry zone crops. There are can be seen many beautiful and important crops that are native to Sri Lanka and also to Asia.


Among the myriad Sri Lankan values, the rich biodiversity, the beautiful gardens, and the rich cultural heritage of the Kandy are enriching world attractions. So no matter what kind of vacation you want, Kandy is sure to be a great stay.

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