Royal City of Kandy
Nestled amidst lush mountains in the north of the island’s hill country, the Royal City of Kandy, 116 Km from Colombo, was home to Sri Lanka’s last independent kingdom, surviving two centuries of colonial incursions by the Portuguese and the Dutch before falling to the British in 1815. The legacy of this proud tradition lives on today in the form of the city’s distinctive architecture, art and dance.
Home to the sacred relic of the tooth of the Buddha, a visit to the Dalanda Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth, is an experience no tourist should miss. Said to have been snatched from the Buddha’s funeral pyre and smuggled to Sri Lanka in the hair of a princess, the tooth relic is of great spiritual significance. Each year in July or August is the Esala Perahera (perahera means “procession”), a spectacular display of medieval pageantry that includes caparisoned elephants, fire dancers and Kandyan drummers.
Stroll around the beautiful lake, the centerpiece of the town and explore the numerous temples perched on the hills – these are pleasant ways to spend your time in Kandy. Experiencing the pulsating drum rhythms and colorful traditional dances at a cultural show is another must, as is a ramble through the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, 6 Km south of the city. Kandy is also the best place in Sri Lanka to study meditation.