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How to Make the Most of Your Trip to Kandy

Trip to Kandy

By Ayodha UshaniPublished 4 years ago 3 min read
How to Make the Most of Your Trip to Kandy
Photo by Supun Batagoda on Unsplash

Sri Lanka is synonymous with sandy beaches and the beauty of the ocean to most tourists who have never visited the city, but did you know that there is so much more to the country? The highlands have a charm of their own and one of the cities in the hills that you should definitely be exploring while in Sri Lanka is Kandy – the last kingdom – a plateau surrounded by verdant emerald hills. Here's how to make the most of your trip to the hill capital.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic

No trip to Kandy is complete without visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic. A temple that is part of the palace complex of the last king of Kandy, it is a place of religious significance for Buddhists all over the world. This is because of the belief that within the temple, inside a small golden pagoda is a tooth of the Buddha which was plucked from his funeral pyre and secretly brought to Sri Lanka from India. It became a symbol of royal power and every year in August, a colourful elephant festival is held in Kandy where the tooth relic is paraded around the streets. Visit the temple and explore the surrounding palace complex. It is an education in architecture and religion. Remember to take your shoes off and cover your knees and shoulders before you enter. You are permitted to take photographs, but make sure you are respectful at all times.

The Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya

When you travel to Kandy you can stop here on the way to the city centre. Located in Peradeniya on the banks of the Mahaweli River, which is the longest river in the country, the Royal Botanical Gardens were once the palace gardens of Kandyan kings before it was converted into an extensive arboretum by the British in 1821. It is home to over 10,000 trees situated across 60 hectares with plants that have been brought from all over the world. The British used the ideal temperature and weather to experiment on tea bushes and coffee plants before they transferred them to the now iconic tea plantations that circle the city and the rest of the highlands.

Bahirawakanda Vihara Viewpoint

Bahirawakanda is one of the mountains that protrude from a part of the city and provides a spectacular viewpoint from which you can look over the entire city. There is a temple at the peak, below a massive, milk-white statue of a seated Buddha. Since it is a temple, make sure you are respectful. You can visit the mountain at dawn or dusk and watch how the sun colours the matchbox-sized city sprawled below you.

Walk Around the Lake

The Kandy Lake is situated by the palace of the last king of Kandy, Sri Vickrama Rajasinghe and was a project dear to his heart that was completed during his reign in 1807. You will find people walking around the lake. Despite being right in the city centre, it provides a window of calm and respite. Take a walk in the evening as the sun is about to set, for beautiful photo opportunities and people watching.

Explore the Market

The Kandy market is a blast of smells at once. It will take you some time to get used to it. Wander through the stalls and duck under the hands of vendors calling their wares to watch Kandy function. There will be plenty of opportunities for photographs and don't shy away from getting a taste of the local fruit.

Eat Local Delicacies

Ignore the fine dining and try the food the locals eat. Sri Lankan food is notoriously flavourful and Kandyan cuisine is a seamless blend of various ethnic delicacies all coming together in a single menu. Use blog sites such as Kandy Escapes to find out more about these hidden hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

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    Ayodha UshaniWritten by Ayodha Ushani

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