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Things To Do In Kandy
Kandy is an old city in the island of Sri Lanka that is immersed in Buddhist culture. This makes Kandy an important pilgrimage site and a mystical land brimming with stories and legends. Thanks to the tropical forest that surrounds the city and the many parks within, Kandy has a close relationship with nature. There is no better way to soothe the nerves than to spend a few days here, in the cultural capital of the country. Read on to find a list of things to do in Kandy.
Situated in the green interiors of Sri Lanka, Kandy has a number of spots that are truly unique to the area. Udawattakele Forest Reserve is a large area of woodland hanging above the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The forest is especially known among bird watchers for the indigenous birds found here. Then, a little away from the city of Kandy is the vast range of the Knuckle Mountains. The range is covered by lush green forests and has some exciting nature trails. Within the city there is the lesser visited Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve which is at the end of the Hanthana range. This range also has some very beautiful hike-able routes.
Kandy is at the centre of many of the historic movements that took place in Sri Lanka. This is why a visit to historic monuments and other cultural sites will prove to be an interesting trip. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth relic always tops the list, with its captivating legends and its stunning architecture and rituals. You can also visit a number of Buddhist temples when you are here, including Degal Doruwa Raja Maha Vihara cave temple and Alut Maligawa.
Kandy also has a large number of museums among which the National Museum and the Ceylon Tea Museum are the most popular. The Loolkandura Estate is the first tea plantation site in Kandy, a tour of the fragrant tea factory here will be both delightful and informative.
Knuckle Mountains have many trekking routes and you will easily find guides to help with treks. There are treks that last from a day to about 3 days. The best part of the trek is the number of wild animals and birds that can be spotted here. The camp sites are located at picturesque hillsides, either overlooking rivers, or valleys. Within the city, a really great trek is up the Secret Walkers Forest. The scene here is incomparable, but make sure you get the municipal council’s permission first. Hanthana Mountain range from the city also has a few routes that should be ideal for a one day trek.
Meditation and Yoga
Being the spiritual capital of the country and a popular pilgrimage destination among Buddhists, it is no surprise that Kandy has some of the best meditation centres around. Institutions like Dhamma Kuta Vipassana Meditation Centre and Nilambe Meditation Centre offer yoga and meditation courses that usually last about ten days. They are located amidst tranquil environments that inspire spirituality.
The Kandy Esala Perahera is the most important festival celebrated here. They celebrate the Sacred Tooth of Buddha by a series of colourful processions, dances and songs. One of the major attractions of the festival is the Kandyan Dance. The dance is a special art form specific to this region and features percussion, narration of folklore and elaborate costumes, the most noticeable of which is the headdress. The procession is led by an elephant carrying a casket, within which the relic is usually kept.