Top 10 Places to Visit in Kandy

Top 10 Places to Visit in Kandy

Kandy, nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka, is a city steeped in rich history and cultural heritage. From ancient temples to lush botanical gardens, Kandy offers a plethora of attractions that cater to every traveler’s interests. Let’s explore the top 10 places you must visit when in Kandy.

1. Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic or Sri Dalada Maligawa, is a Buddhist temple in Kandy
Photo by Chathura Anuradha Subasinghe on Unsplash

Nestled in the heart of Kandy, Sri Lanka, lies the revered Temple of the Tooth Relic, a testament to the island nation’s rich cultural and religious heritage. This sacred site, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, houses the relic of the Buddha’s tooth, believed to be one of the holiest relics in Buddhism. Steeped in legend and lore, the Temple of the Tooth Relic attracts pilgrims and tourists alike, drawn by its spiritual significance and architectural splendor.

Spiritual Serenity

As visitors step through the ornate entrance gates of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, they are enveloped in an aura of tranquility and reverence. The rhythmic chants of Buddhist monks mingle with the fragrant scent of incense, creating an atmosphere of sacredness and devotion. Inside the temple complex, intricate carvings, colorful murals, and golden statues pay homage to the Buddha and depict scenes from his life and teachings.

Preserving Centuries of Tradition

The Temple of the Tooth Relic stands as a symbol of Sri Lanka’s enduring Buddhist heritage and its commitment to preserving centuries-old traditions. From elaborate rituals and ceremonial processions to daily offerings of flowers and prayers, the temple continues to be a focal point of religious and cultural life in Kandy. Visitors have the opportunity to witness these rituals firsthand and gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the relic to Buddhist devotees around the world.

2. Peradeniya Botanical Gardens

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens Kandy, Sri Lanka
Photo by Sander Don on Unsplash

Nestled along the banks of the Mahaweli River in Kandy, Sri Lanka, lies the enchanting Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, a verdant paradise teeming with exotic flora and fauna. Spread across 147 acres, this botanical haven is a testament to the island’s rich biodiversity and a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Natural Beauty

As visitors meander through the winding pathways of Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, they are greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors and scents. Towering palms, majestic fig trees, and vibrant orchids paint a picture of lush tropical splendor, while the gentle murmur of streams and fountains adds to the tranquil ambiance. The gardens also boast an impressive collection of endemic and exotic plant species, including medicinal herbs, spice trees, and towering bamboo groves, offering a feast for the senses at every turn.

Exploring Historic Landmarks

Cannonball Tree, Kandy
Photo by Srilanka Destinations

Beyond its natural beauty, Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is also steeped in history and heritage. Established in the early 19th century during the British colonial era, the gardens served as a research center for tropical plants and a recreational retreat for colonial administrators. Today, visitors can explore historic landmarks such as the Avenue of Royal Palms, the Cannonball Tree, and the towering Giant Javan Fig, each with its own story to tell about the gardens’ illustrious past.

3. Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake
Photo by chamara lakshan on Unsplash

Nestled in the heart of Kandy, Sri Lanka, lies the picturesque Kandy Lake, a tranquil oasis that offers respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Built-in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, this man-made lake, also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk, is surrounded by lush greenery and scenic walking paths, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists alike.

Immersing in Natural Splendor

As visitors stroll along the shores of Kandy Lake, they are greeted by panoramic views of the surrounding hills and the iconic Temple of the Tooth Relic shimmering in the distance. The calm waters of the lake reflect the azure sky above, creating a mesmerizing backdrop for leisurely boat rides or peaceful picnics by the water’s edge. The lake is also home to a variety of bird species, including majestic swans and colorful kingfishers, offering birdwatchers a chance to glimpse Sri Lanka’s rich avian biodiversity.

Discovering Historic Landmarks

In addition to its natural beauty, Kandy Lake is steeped in history and culture, with several historic landmarks dotted along its shores. Visitors can explore the enchanting Royal Bathing Pavilion, built for the king’s wives and concubines, or wander through the lush gardens of the Queen’s Hotel, a colonial-era mansion that once served as a residence for British governors. Whether enjoying a leisurely stroll or simply basking in the serenity of the surroundings, a visit to Kandy Lake promises to be a memorable experience for all who venture there.

4. Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

Situated among the lush hills of Kandy, Sri Lanka, lies the enchanting Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, a verdant paradise teeming with biodiversity and natural splendor. This tranquil sanctuary, also known as the Royal Forest Park, offers visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, making it a favorite spot for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

Immersing in Nature’s Tranquility

As visitors wander through the winding trails of Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, they are greeted by a symphony of bird songs, the rustle of leaves, and the gentle murmur of streams. Towering trees, vibrant ferns, and exotic orchids line the pathways, creating a lush canopy overhead. The sanctuary is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including monkeys, deer, and a variety of bird species, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.

Discovering Hidden Treasures

Beyond its natural beauty, Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is steeped in history and culture, with several historic landmarks scattered throughout its grounds. Visitors can explore ancient cave dwellings, meditation rock shelters, and the ruins of an ancient palace, offering a glimpse into the area’s rich heritage. Whether embarking on a leisurely hike, meditating amidst the serene surroundings, or simply enjoying a picnic amidst nature’s bounty, a visit to Udawatta Kele Sanctuary promises to be a memorable experience for all who venture there.

5. Ceylon Tea Museum

Nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka’s picturesque hill country, the Ceylon Tea Museum stands as a tribute to the island nation’s most celebrated export: tea. Housed within the historic Hanthana Tea Factory, this captivating museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the rich history, production process, and cultural significance of Ceylon tea.

Tea Culture

As visitors step through the doors of the Ceylon Tea Museum, they are transported back in time to the early days of Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Antique tea processing machinery, vintage photographs, and artifacts tell the story of how tea cultivation transformed the island’s economy and shaped its cultural identity. Interactive exhibits allow visitors to experience the tea-making process firsthand, from plucking the tender tea leaves to savoring the aromatic brew.

Discovering Tea’s Legacy

Beyond its historical significance, the Ceylon Tea Museum offers visitors the opportunity to sample a variety of teas, learn about the different grades and flavors, and gain insight into the art of tea tasting. The museum’s tranquil surroundings, set amidst lush tea plantations and rolling hills, provide the perfect backdrop for visitors to relax, unwind, and immerse themselves in the world of Ceylon tea.

6. Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

Perched atop the scenic hills of Kandy, Sri Lanka, stands the magnificent Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue, a towering embodiment of peace and tranquility. This awe-inspiring landmark, often referred to as the Bahirawakanda Buddha, gazes serenely over the city, offering solace and inspiration to all who behold it.

A Monumental Tribute to Enlightenment

The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue stands at an impressive height of 88 feet, making it one of the tallest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka. Crafted from gleaming white concrete, the statue radiates a sense of serenity and enlightenment, its peaceful countenance captivating visitors from far and wide. The site also boasts panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, providing the perfect backdrop for quiet contemplation and reflection.

Discovering Spiritual Splendor

Visitors to the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue can embark on a journey of spiritual discovery as they ascend the hillside to reach the statue’s base. Along the way, they can marvel at intricate Buddhist carvings, lush gardens, and colorful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. At the summit, they are greeted by the serene presence of the Buddha, offering a moment of respite from the chaos of everyday life and a reminder of the timeless teachings of peace and compassion.

7. Kandy View Point

Kandy view point - kandy
Photo by Shamika Nayanajith on Unsplash

Perched atop a hill overlooking the picturesque city of Kandy, Sri Lanka, lies the enchanting Kandy View Point, a must-visit destination for travelers seeking panoramic vistas and unforgettable experiences. From this vantage point, visitors are treated to sweeping views of Kandy’s verdant hills, glistening lake, and iconic landmarks, offering a glimpse into the natural and cultural splendor of the region.

Immersing in Scenic Splendor

As visitors ascend to Kandy View Point, they are greeted by a panorama of breathtaking beauty unfolding before their eyes. Lush tea plantations carpet the hillsides, punctuated by cascading waterfalls and meandering rivers. The city’s bustling streets and historic architecture are juxtaposed against the serene backdrop of mist-shrouded mountains, creating a scene straight out of a postcard.

Discovering Hidden Gems

Beyond its scenic beauty, Kandy View Point offers visitors the opportunity to explore nearby attractions and cultural landmarks. From the iconic Temple of the Tooth Relic to the tranquil shores of Kandy Lake, there’s no shortage of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether capturing stunning photographs, enjoying a leisurely picnic, or simply soaking in the serenity of the surroundings, a visit to Kandy View Point promises to be a memorable highlight of any trip to Sri Lanka’s hill capital.

8. Embekka Devale

ambakke Kandy
Photo by Srilanka Destinations

Nestled amidst the verdant forests of Kandy, Sri Lanka, lies the mesmerizing Embekka Devale, a hidden architectural marvel steeped in centuries of history and culture. This sacred site, dedicated to the worship of the god Kataragama, boasts exquisite wood carvings, intricate murals, and ancient rituals, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to delve into the rich heritage of the island nation.

Immersing in Architectural Grandeur

As visitors step through the ornate entrance of Embekka Devale, they are transported back in time to an era of kings and nobles. The main shrine, adorned with intricate carvings depicting mythological figures and celestial beings, serves as a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of ancient Sri Lankan artisans. Surrounding the shrine are numerous pavilions, each boasting its own unique architectural style and decorative motifs, creating a harmonious blend of beauty and spirituality.

Discovering Sacred Traditions

Beyond its architectural grandeur, Embekka Devale is a living testament to the religious and cultural traditions of Sri Lanka. Visitors have the opportunity to witness ancient rituals and ceremonies performed by the temple priests, offering insights into the island’s spiritual heritage. From traditional drumming performances to ceremonial offerings, every aspect of the temple’s rituals is steeped in symbolism and significance, providing a glimpse into the deeply rooted beliefs of the Sri Lankan people.

9. Gadaladeniya Temple

Located amidst the lush greenery of Kandy, Sri Lanka, the Gadaladeniya Temple stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and architectural brilliance of the island nation. Dating back to the 14th century, this ancient temple is renowned for its exquisite stone carvings, intricate sculptures, and serene surroundings, making it a cherished pilgrimage site and tourist attraction.

Architectural Splendor

As visitors step through the ornate entrance of Gadaladeniya Temple, they are greeted by the sight of towering stone pillars, ornamental arches, and intricate friezes depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology. The main shrine, dedicated to the worship of Lord Buddha, features a magnificent stupa adorned with delicate carvings and surrounded by lush gardens and ancient trees. The temple’s architecture reflects a unique blend of South Indian Dravidian and Sinhalese styles, offering a fascinating glimpse into the cultural exchange that occurred during Sri Lanka’s medieval period.

Discovering Spiritual Tranquility

Beyond its architectural splendor, Gadaladeniya Temple is a place of spiritual tranquility and contemplation. Visitors have the opportunity to explore its sacred halls, offer prayers and offerings at the shrine, and witness traditional rituals performed by resident monks. The temple’s serene atmosphere, combined with the melodious chanting of prayers and the fragrance of incense, creates a sense of peace and harmony that transcends time and space, inviting visitors to connect with their inner selves and experience the timeless teachings of Buddhism.

10. Commonwealth War Cemetery

Nestled amidst the serene hills of Kandy, Sri Lanka, lies the Commonwealth War Cemetery, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by brave soldiers during World War II. This solemn site serves as a lasting tribute to the men and women from across the Commonwealth who gave their lives in service to their countries, their memory preserved in rows of white gravestones amidst impeccably manicured lawns and peaceful surroundings.

Paying Tribute to Fallen Heroes

As visitors enter the Commonwealth War Cemetery, they are greeted by the sight of rows upon rows of gravestones, each bearing the name, rank, and regiment of a fallen soldier. The air is filled with a sense of solemnity and respect as visitors wander through the meticulously maintained grounds, pausing to reflect on the lives lost and the ultimate price paid for freedom. In addition to the gravestones, the cemetery features a central memorial adorned with the emblems of the Commonwealth nations, a poignant symbol of unity and remembrance.

A Place of Reflection and Remembrance

The Commonwealth War Cemetery is more than just a burial ground; it is a place of reflection and remembrance, where visitors can pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Throughout the year, commemorative ceremonies and events are held to honor the fallen and ensure that their memory lives on for future generations. Whether visiting to pay homage to a loved one or simply to reflect on the cost of war, a visit to the Commonwealth War Cemetery is a deeply moving experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who tread its hallowed grounds.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Kandy is a treasure trove of cultural and natural wonders waiting to be explored. From sacred temples to lush botanical gardens, there’s no shortage of attractions to discover in this historic city. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Kandy has something for every traveler. So pack your bags, embark on an unforgettable journey, and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Kandy.

FAQ 

The best time to visit Kandy is during the dry season, which typically spans from December to April. During this time, you’ll experience pleasant weather and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions.

Kandy is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and tourist sites. It’s also advisable to keep your belongings secure and avoid wandering alone at night.

 

 

Some must-try dishes in Kandy include traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry, Kandyan-style milk rice (kiribath), and sweet treats like Kiri-Pani (milk toffee) and Kokis (crispy cookies). Don’t forget to indulge in a cup of authentic Ceylon tea while exploring the city.

 

 

Kandy is relatively compact, making it easy to explore on foot or by hiring a tuk-tuk (three-wheeled taxi). Alternatively, you can use public buses or hire a private car for more flexibility and convenience.

 

 

Some off-the-beaten-path attractions in Kandy include the Hanthana Mountain Range for hiking enthusiasts, the scenic village of Kitulgala for adventure activities like white water rafting and zip-lining, and lesser-known temples like Embekka Devale and Gadaladeniya Temple for a glimpse into Kandy’s rich history and culture.

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