Kandy, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a must visit travel destination for visitors to Sri Lanka. This beautiful city is located in the foothills of central highlands, surrounded by hills and valleys, rivers, lakes and cascading waterfalls. Kandy is frequented by tourists as the charming hill capital is close to Colombo and is part of the cultural triangle. Kandy was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988 and thus became a tourism hotspot in Sri Lanka.
Travelers visit Kandy to explore the unique history and the beautiful culture of Sri Lanka. This cultural capital of Sri Lanka is also popularly known as Maha Nuwara (means “The Great City”). One of the great aspects to admire in Kandy is its magnificent architecture displaying Indian and Sinhalese designs. The city is very sacred to Buddhists and is frequented by pilgrims to visit its sacred temples and shrines, based on Buddhist architecture.
This beautiful hilly city is surrounded by a ring of mountain ranges and Sri Lanka’s largest river Mahaweli Ganga. Kandy enjoys a salubrious climate throughout the year and still breathes the ancient lifestyle of Sri Lanka. Both domestic and international tourists are attracted towards Kandy’s heritage, architecture, sculpture, painting, dance and music.
Tourists landing at Colombo Airport can find numerous options to travel to Kandy like AC buses, trains, taxis and tourist cars. The best way to travel within city is either through tuk-tuks (three wheelers) or on foot. The main tourist attractions in city are the Temple of sacred tooth relic, Gadaladeniya temple, Embekke temple, Lankatilaka temple, city lake, tea museum and Peradeniya gardens. The famous Perahara cultural procession also takes place here (in month of July or August) that is considered as one of the most colorful procession in world. The procession involves a parade of elephants with the lead tusker carrying sacred tooth, accompanied by thousands of dancers and drummers. Kandy is also known for its trekking options where travelers can enjoy nature trails through Udawattakelle forest reserve or the Knuckles mountain range.
History of Kandy
Kandy (Ancient Senkadagala) is the last capital of the Sinhala Monarchy, the history of which goes back to at least five centuries before the beginning of the common Era. The name Kandy was derived by the colonial rulers from the word Kanda in Sinhala, meaning a hill. The people of Sri Lanka were originally a group known as the Sinhalese and later the Tamils came in; both groups were from different regions of India.
Buddhism became the first major religion on the island when it was introduced in the 3rd century B.C. The Sinhalese people remained in control until the 10th century when invaders came in and power switched to the Tamil people. The history of the city of Kandy is an important one. When many cities were invaded in Sri Lanka’s history, Kandy had remained untouched due to its high elevation in the mountains, making it hard for invaders to reach. Kandy was actually the King’s capital city until Sri Lanka became a British colony in 1815. Because of this reason the culture remains very strong and unique in Kandy still, today.