Kandy මහනුවර [mahanuʋərə] is the hill country capital renowned for its luscious green mountains and its historical importance. With an elevation of 500m (1600 ft), Kandy is situated 122km from Colombo, in the Central Province with a population of 126,000. Kandy is the best place to experience Sri Lanka’s proud history and grand heritage.
Kandy was founded in the 14th century and the Kandyan kingdom was formed in the 15th century. It was ruled by 14 kings from 3 dynasties and was the last Kingdom in Ceylon before the British captured the island in 1815.The city is known best for its historic importance and the fusion of Kandyan and colonial architecture, specifically the Temple of the Tooth Relic which serves as the ultimate remnant for Buddhists around the world as it enshrines the tooth of Lord Buddha. The Kandy Perahera (parade) which takes place in August is a famous international event which celebrates the vibrant Sri Lankan culture and it attracts people from around the world in to this small hilly city. The National Museum and the Old Royal Palace within the vicinity is also a must-do, which showcases the life style of Ceylonese kings and the ordinary man. A walk around the Kandy lake at dusk when the sky is painted gold is a definite bucket list-worthy experience.
The white seated Buddha statue that you can see when looking up towards the hills from the city is called the Bahiravakanda temple which is also a must visit spot that provides an excellent view of this ancient city and its surroundings. Another historically interesting place within the city is the Queen’s Hotel which has a history of over 150 years. The premises originally belonged to a Sinhalese aristocrat and was called ‘Dullewe Walauwa’. With the British occupation, it was converted in to Governor’s Residence for the Governor of Ceylon, which was later converted in to a hostel in 1849 called the Malabar House, a boarding house called Stainton Hotel and finally to what it is today- The Queens Hotel in 1869.
Anyone who visits Kandy will not forget to visit the Royal Botanical gardens of Peradeniya which contains greenery from around the island and around the globe ensuring that it is in bloom throughout the year. Acres of flowers in different colours, shapes and sizes provide many an insta-worthy scene.
For those interested in wildlife, Udawatte Kele Sanctuary provides the needful, with its history panning to the days of the kings when they used the woody area for their hunting. For visitors who love hiking, Hanthana mountain range is the best location with its mild climate, easy paths and a breathtaking view promised to those who completes the journey.
Historic architecture, colourful cuisine, sun kissed mountain tops and smiling people, Kandy truly embodies the Sri Lankan experience to the core.