Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine, celebrated with the grand Esala Perahera annual procession
Exploring the Enchanting City of Kandy, Sri Lanka: A Travel Guide
Nestled amidst the lush, rolling hills of Sri Lanka's Central Province, Kandy is a city that radiates history, culture, and natural beauty. Known as the last royal capital of Sri Lanka, this enchanting destination is a treasure trove of captivating experiences for any traveler. From the iconic Temple of the Tooth Relic to its verdant landscapes, Kandy offers a unique and immersive journey through Sri Lankan history and tradition. In this travel guide, we will explore the must-visit attractions, cultural gems, and practical tips for making the most of your trip to Kandy.
Getting to Kandy
Kandy is conveniently located in the heart of Sri Lanka, making it accessible by various modes of transportation. The most common ways to reach Kandy include:
By Train: The scenic train ride from Colombo to Kandy is famous for its breathtaking views of the Sri Lankan countryside. The journey takes approximately 2-4 hours, depending on the type of train you choose.
By Bus: An extensive bus network connects Kandy to major cities in Sri Lanka. Buses offer a cost-effective way to reach the city, and the journey is relatively comfortable.
By Car: If you prefer a private and flexible travel experience, you can hire a car and driver to take you to Kandy. The drive from Colombo takes around 3-4 hours.
Top Attractions in Kandy
Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa): This is Kandy's most iconic and sacred site. It houses the tooth relic of Lord Buddha and is an important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists. The temple's stunning architecture and rich history are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Peradeniya Royal Botanic Gardens: Just a short distance from the city center, these gardens are a horticultural wonderland. You can stroll through a vast collection of exotic plants and trees while enjoying the tranquility of the landscape.
Kandy Lake: Also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk, this artificial lake is a scenic spot for a leisurely walk. It was constructed by Sri Wickrama Rajasinha in the 19th century.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary: For nature enthusiasts, this rainforest reserve offers a chance to explore diverse flora and fauna while hiking along well-marked trails. Keep an eye out for various bird species and monkeys.
Cultural Dance Shows: Kandy is known for its vibrant cultural performances. Don't miss the opportunity to witness traditional Kandyan dances, which feature elaborate costumes and intricate choreography.
Royal Palace of Kandy (Wales Park): Though visitors can't access the palace itself, you can explore its gardens and enjoy panoramic views of the city from this elevated vantage point.
Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue: Perched atop a hill, this towering Buddha statue is not only an impressive sight but also provides stunning vistas of Kandy.
Kandy is a city steeped in tradition, and there are numerous ways to immerse yourself in its rich cultural tapestry:
Esala Perahera: If you're lucky enough to visit in July or August, you can witness the grand Esala Perahera, an annual procession with beautifully adorned elephants, dancers, drummers, and fire-breathers. It's a colorful and mesmerizing event.
Batik Workshops: Kandy is known for its exquisite batik art. You can visit workshops to see how these intricate designs are created and even try your hand at making your own batik masterpiece.
Tea Plantations: While not in the city itself, the surrounding hills are home to some of the world's finest tea plantations. Take a day trip to learn about the tea-making process and enjoy a refreshing cup of Ceylon tea.
Local Cuisine: Don't miss the opportunity to savor Sri Lankan cuisine. Try local dishes like rice and curry, kottu roti, and hoppers. Kandy's bustling marketplaces offer an array of street food vendors to tantalize your taste buds.
Dress Modestly: When visiting religious sites like the Temple of the Tooth Relic, it's important to dress conservatively, covering your shoulders and knees.
Respect Local Customs: Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country, so always be mindful of local customs and practices.
Climate: Kandy enjoys a pleasant climate year-round, but it can get quite cool in the evenings, so pack accordingly.
Transportation: Tuk-tuks are a convenient and fun way to get around the city. Negotiate the fare before starting your journey.
Language: While Sinhala is the official language, English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas.
Kandy, with its cultural heritage, natural beauty, and warm hospitality, is a must-visit destination in Sri Lanka. It offers a unique blend of spirituality, history, and natural splendor, making it a memorable stop on any traveler's journey through this enchanting island nation.