Kandy – Sri Lanka
Hidden away deep in the lush green Sri Lankan hillside lies Kandy, the beautiful island’s cultural capital. The main city of the ancient Kingdom of Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth, a stunning golden roofed building which is said to house one of the legendary Buddha’s teeth. This makes it one of the key religious shrines and pilgrimage destinations for the Buddhist tradition. Bahirawakanda temple is harder to miss, given the gigantic golden Buddha statue which adorns its top. The idyllic city is centred on the shores of the gorgeous Kandy Lake, an artificial construction of the last ruler of the Kandy Kingdom. It’s more recent colonial past is evident in the plentiful tea plantations that surround the city, and a trip to the Ceylon Tea Museum is a must for any tea aficionado’s. Just south of the city lies the Uda Walawe National Park, this is home to a huge number of elephants, of which Sri Lanka is much famed for.
Where is it?
The city lies in the very centre of Sri Lanka, up in the highlands of the island country. Sri Lanka itself sits in the Indian Ocean, in very close proximity to the southern tip of India.
What is it?
Kandy was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese, Sri Lanka’s native population, and the City held out against the Dutch and Portuguese for 300 years before eventually falling to the British Empire in 1815. The city retains much of its cultural heritage alongside more colonial landmarks, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998.
Best time to visit?
The best time to visit Kandy is during the dry season which runs from February to April. The weather is calmest during these months, as it can become very unstable during the stormy Monsoon seasons.
The Temple of the Tooth, or Sri Dalada Maligawa, is the truly essential visiting location of Kandy. One of the holiest shrines in the entire Buddhist world, it is a truly religious experience as the temple is almost always full of Buddhist Pilgrims. The legend of the tooth, in particular the legend that it was smuggled into Sri Lanka hidden in the hair of an Orissan princess, is truly inspiring.