Things To Do & Places To Visit In Kandy
Welcome to Kandy, the historical capital city echoing its ancient past of Kandyan kings and empires. Did you know that Kandy is the 6th most populous city of Sri Lanka? It has around 125,351 people, according to the last census taken. ‘But, what am I supposed to do with that information? I wanna know about the awesome places and things in Kandy.’ If that is what you are thinking, you are in luck, because we are about to give you a virtual tour of Kandy through space and time. (Well, maybe not space) Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll know why UNESCO declared Kandy as a World Heritage Site.
Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic
Let us kick off with the most well-known of places first. The holiest shrine in the Buddhist world, and easily the most visited temple of all by tourists, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, or as is locally called, the Sri Dalada Maligawa, is home to an ancient relic: the holy tooth of the Lord Buddha. The story of how the tooth was brought into Kandy of Ceylon (old name of Sri Lanka) involves some kings, princes and princesses, and we encourage you to either find out about it before visiting the Sri Dalada, or during your visit therein.
We must mention a few things about it here though. Although people of all religions and backgrounds are welcome, there is an entry fees, which is a little expensive and there is also a dress code to be followed. Photos aren’t officially allowed but like many others, if you can sneakily take a picture or two, no one’s going to ask you to delete them. You have to take your shoes off before entering the temple. However, despite all these ‘restrictions’ of sorts, people have praised the inner atmosphere a lot. From its exquisite architectural design to the prevalent spiritual atmosphere, and especially the night time glow of lights from within, a majority of the people who visit this temple return quite satisfied. Be sure to visit the temple when it’s not too crowded, you might actually get a chance to look at the famed canine tooth as well.
Esala Peraherea – Festival Of The Tooth
Associated with the famous Temple of the Tooth is the annual festival called the Festival of the Tooth or ‘Esala Perahera’. The event is usually held in July or August every year. It is an 11-day festival, featuring all sorts of activities, from traditional fire-dances, whip dances, fire-breathers, musicians and elephants cloaked in lavish garments. The main ritual of Esala Perahera is the procession that takes place around the holy temple, in order to commemorate the holy tooth relic of their beloved Lord Buddha. Another one of the highlights of the event is the Diya Kepeema ritual, a water ritual ceremony held at the Mahawali River.
Many tourists have reviewed this event and unsurprisingly, most of them say something to the tune of ‘once in a lifetime experience’.
Royal Palace Of Kandy
While we are mentioning things related to the Temple of the Tooth, here is something that you should surely check out while visiting the Sri Dalada Maligawa. The Royal Palace of Kandy isn’t your typical Western or British Royal Palace. It features pillars made with intricately carved wood and lacks any royal gold settings that have come to define a typical royal palace. If you do visit it, do not be disappointed by its size though; it used to be part of a much larger palace complex, which included various palace sections for the Queen’s Bathing, King’s Harem Halls and what not.
The sweet little lake of Kandy is known as the Bogambara Lake, or Kiri Muhuda (Sea of Milk), or simply Kandy lake. No matter what you call it, it is still an astonishing site with attractive viewpoints and exotic species of birds and animals. Its history is also quite impressive. Unlike natural lakes in hilly areas, this lake was artificially created! Yes, you heard right. Some old Kandyan king, by the name of Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, had it build as a dam reservoir over rice fields.
The Kandy Lake is, according to tourist reviews, one with clean water, some pretty good viewpoints and is an amazing place for photography.
The Twin Museums
Here we shall mention two museums located in the Sri Dalada Maligawa area which are almost always visited by tourists visiting the Temple of the Tooth. These are the International Buddhist Museum and the National Museum of Kandy.
The International Buddhist Museum
Built over the former palace of a Kandyan king and having been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the company TripAdvisor, this temple is well worth its title. The museum was established through funding obtained by different allied countries of Sri Lanka and is the main Buddhist Temple recognized worldwide (It is also sometimes called the World Buddhist Temple). Also, you should know perhaps that its entry is free if you have already bought the ticket for the Temple.
We need not say much to persuade you of the great exhibits, organized design and interior artwork done inside the museum. You can easily find lots of positive reviews about the place. Tourists have corroborated over the fact that it is a world class museum, with informative, patient and courteous docents and guides.
National Museum Of Kandy
This museum does not seem to be at the same level as the first one we’ve mentioned. Also adjacent to the Temple of the Tooth, this one can also be visited jointly with it. However, previous visitors have not provided as positive a review as they did for the Buddhist Museum. We leave it up to you to decide whether you want to check it out or not.
If you are a nature lover and love to spend quiet times of solitude in nature, then there can be no better place for you other than the Udawattekele Sanctuary. Even though it is near the hustling bustling city of Kandy, the natural forest provides complete detachment from the urban life. It offers the perfect setting for your Zen mode. The paths are well maintained and clean. However, some tourists have criticized the sanctuary for charging too much its worth from foreign tourists. So, consider your budget before embarking on your morning walk down the Udawattekele Sanctuary.
That’s it folks, for now! We hope you enjoyed reading our blog on Kandy. There are still many more attractions in Kandy, including nature parks, local shopping malls and what not. We could not cover all of them. If you want us to write about any specific place in Kandy, do let us know in the comments.