The citadel in the hills, Kandy is a town that showcases some of Sri Lanka’s priceless cultural jewels that are well worth unearthing. With tea estates, rolling hills and mist-shrouded mornings to wake up to, Kandy affords much to do and see. Outlined below is how you can make the most of your time here in just a day.
Spend time within the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and found in the very heart of the city is arguably, the region’s prized possession; the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Also, referred to as the ‘Sri Dalada Maligawa,’ this shrine is a sought after pilgrimage site which also serves as a tourist hotspot that will educate you of the nation’s deep-rooted ties to Buddhism and distinct heritage. With the main draw being the tooth relic of Gautama Buddha, the visitor will also be led towards exploring every inch of the Temple which is beautified by vibrant colours and ornate design features that adorn its walls and ceilings. The daily Poojas which are held at 5.30 am, 9.30 am and 6.30 pm respectively are great ways to immerse yourself in the traditions and values that have transcended generations.
Stroll around the Kandy Lake
Constructed during the Kandyan Monarchy and featuring classical examples of colonial architecture, the Kandy Lake is where you can set about feasting your senses on every minute detail of the city. As you commence your journey, the sight of the artificial lake situated at the centre of the Lake will undoubtedly be your constant companion as local vendors selling slices of mango doused in salt and pepper crowd around you. You may also venture one step further and opt for a boat ride on the waters of Kandy Lake but it is wise to check the weather beforehand.
Head over to Arthur’s Seat
Though not always spoken of alongside some of Kandy’s more celebrated and cherished destinations, Arthur’s Seat sure does go the extra mile in presenting intrepid vacationers with sweeping vistas of the city. Requiring those to embark on a little trek, the viewpoint of Arthur’s Seat will soon have you delighting in the Kandy Lake, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the Royal Palace of Kandy.
Go boating on the Mahaveli Ganga
Embrace the brilliance of Kandy’s natural environment as part of a boat ride along the waters of the mighty Mahaveli Ganga which is ranked as Sri Lanka’s longest river measuring some 335 km. As you float along gently, views of Gulmohar trees and water monitors basking on the river banks will drift in that and fill you with all the inspiration to keep moving forward. Added to this, one is sure to come into contact with the numerous species of birds that reside in and around the Mahaveli Ganga and thus, it would be an absolute must to bring along your trusty camera for the duration of the journey.
Buy a ticket to a traditional dance act
Associated with stunning costumes with detailed work, acrobatics and even some fire-walking, Kandy’s dance culture is destined to grow on you no sooner you enter one of the numerous halls that are strewn throughout the city. Termed ‘Uda Rata Natum,’ these performances will serve as a wonderful memory of your time here and the best way to experience the same would be to consult your mode of accommodation on how to get your hands on a ticket or two.
Take in the charming Royal Botanical Gardens
Found a short distance away from the city centre in the area of Peradeniya are 150 acres of lush green gardens, towering trees and winding and well-paved pathways which form part of the glorious Royal Botanical Gardens. Upon paying an entrance fee of LKR 1,500, you will be whisked off in the direction of the Hanging Bridge to go on a carefree stroll before the prospect of unwinding at the Open Circle entices you. Dating back to the 14th century, these Gardens were the brainchild of the kings of old but do showcase touches and influences of the British rulers. If you happen to be staying at Hotel Topaz which is one of the iconic Kandy resorts in the area, then you will be well placed to explore the very ends of the Royal Botanical Gardens.