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Tourist Places To Visit In Kandy
The history of Sri Lanka has been influenced to a great extent by the events that took place in Kandy over the centuries and these incidents have left tangible marks in the city. The architecture, for example, showcases an interesting combination of influences from its sister cities in Thailand and from the South of India. The religions practiced here and the languages also reflect its complex history. Most of the tourist attractions here have an important story to tell, so do not miss these tourist places when making a trip to Kandy. Especially the highlights like Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Peradeniya Botanical Garden, Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage and Ceylon Tea Museum.
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Legend has it, that a tooth was stolen from Buddha’s pyre and was transported to Sri Lanka around 480 BC. From then on, the tooth has travelled around Sri Lanka and, for a while, around India as well. By the sixteen hundreds the tooth found its permanent place in a temple that was built by the Kandyan kings for its safe guarding. By then it was believed that whoever held it, had the power to rule the kingdom. This lead to the construction of a palace of which the temple is a part. Today, it is one of the most holy Buddhist sites and so it sees many Buddhist pilgrims and tourist throughout the day. After sundown the local people light lamps outside the temple setting a very mystic atmosphere. It is also at this time that you can see the casket in which the tooth relic is kept.
This artificial lake was created during the beginning of the 19th century by the last of the Kandyan Kings. The lake forms a beautiful backdrop to the Tooth temple and the Royal Palace and is a quick escape from the city. There is an island in the middle of the lake that adds to the scenery. Many birds that are indigenous to Sri Lanka can be found here. So the number of people who take strolls around the lake comes as no surprise.
Peradeniya Botanical Garden
Once this garden was accessible only to royalty, today the over 4000 species of plants are visited by millions of tourists every year. The garden is best known for their many orchid varieties, royal palms and the cannonball fruit tree. A variety of birds visit the park during the day, and sometimes you can even spot some fruit bats.
Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage
This government run institution for abandoned elephants invites people to watch the elephants from up close, while they go about their daily lives. Although every elephant is accompanied by their mahout while they mingle among the visitors, they enjoy a great deal of freedom. The Orphanage covers a very large area with a rich landscape of tall trees, grasslands and streams. If you catch them at the right time, you can even watch the elephants bathe.
Being a place of great historic and cultural importance, the best way to truly appreciate Kandy would be to visit its many museums. The national museum houses some important emblems, crowns and other artifacts that serve as a reminder of Kandyan life before the British occupation. Sri Dalada Museum exhibits a number of gifts that were presented to the sacred temple of the tooth relic. The World Buddhism Museum also showcases a number of Buddhist artifacts, statues and photographs documenting events from all over the world. A lot of replicas of famous statues can also be found here. The Ceylon Tea Museum was once a functional tea factory that was shut down for a while, and now it displays a marvelous collection of vintage tea processing units - a tour here ends with a cup of splendid tea!
Buddhists Temples in Kandy
Degal Doruwa Raja Maha Vihara is a cave temple situated on the outskirts of Kandy. The cave displays beautiful murals that almost blends in with the rocky cave interior. The paintings often depict scenes from the previous lives of the Buddha. Alut Maligawa is a large shrine mirroring its Thai influence in architecture and in many of their traditions. This is also where Sri Dalada museum is located. Throughout Kandy and near the outskirts you will find a number of Buddhist temples like Natha Devale, Kataragama Devale, Vishnu Devale and Malwatte Maha Vihara which deserve to be visited for their diverse architecture, customs and legends.
Kandy is a lush locale in Sri Lanka, maintaining its position of the green land due to the Udawattekele Sanctuary located in its lap. They also call it the Royal Park Palace, spreading across a land of 257 acres. The Sri Lankans maintain that this is their most significant bio reserve. There are lakes of freshwater, pure crisp air to revive your bodies and beauty of nature as far as the eye can see. You can also visit the Garrison Cemetery, Senkanda Cave, Kodimale Peak and some Buddhist shrines hidden in the folds of this forest.
Commonwealth War Cemetery
A World War II cemetery that is the resting ground of commonwealth soldiers who fought and lost their lives, who were fortunate enough to be brought back to their homeland for burial. The Commonwealth War Cemetery has been kept up with tender care by the Commonwealth War Commission, the 190 graves resting in soft tree covers. You can visit here to breathe in the aura of brave born martyrs.
Horton Plains National Park
Horton Plains National Park located in the foothills of Totapola and Kirigalpota mountains, is famously called ‘the world’s end’ due to its thick, never-ending mysterious ways. There are misty lakes, waterfalls, exotic flora and fauna as well as epic trails. You will get to see animals like leopards, samba deer, wild boars and langurs too. Bird watchers, be ready for a feast of the eyes — Ceylon blackbird, bulbul, mountain hawk, Ceylon white eyed arrenga, and many more come flying down to Horton Plains.
Millenium Elephant Foundation
Abbreviated as MEF, this estate is home to loads and loads of elephants that live their lives peacefully and in the midst of nature, being loved and bathed by their human caretaker friends. Here the landscape extends over 15 acres, making enough space for the animals to roam. Here you can rides the elephants bare back, with all the safety precautions in place of course. You can also take walks and tours to get more knowledge on their lives, bathe them, enjoy cuddles with them and visit the museum or the Maximus Dung Paper factory.
Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue
How can you be in Kandy and not see any Buddhist shrines or temples? The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue is a grand start, with its gorgeous panoramic views of the whole Kandy town. The statue itself is made ostentatiously and rises to 88 ft on the Bahirava Kanda Hill. You can also sight this statue from almost anywhere in Peradeniya. The statue is reached by tuk tuks or if you are feeling adventurous, then by climbing on foot.
Ceylon Tea Museum
The Ceylon Tea Museum in Kandy is a vintage place that was built here back in the year 1925. It has been turned into a tea museum holding all kinds of books on tea, its discovery, its processing and other facts. There are also machines and special shows organised. You get to pick up teas from the large selection offered at their in-house shop, enjoy tastings and grab a quick bite at their restaurant. While all this is great, what makes it better is the telescope here, through which you can see the very green, very lush plantations of Kunckles and Matale Range.
British Garrison Cemetery
Another cemetery in Kandy, this one decidedly European in its style, has been maintained as the resting place of those who fought against the British colonisers. There are 163 graves in total, of men as well as women, some as young as teenagers who fought and even children who lost their lives. You can walk through the cemetery and read through the inscriptions carved on each tombstone. There’s a new story you will learn at every turn.
Kandy’s Spice Garden should be your go-to for the fragrant exotic herbs, spices and seeds. Many unheard of and rare species of spices can be found at this garden. And also the famous ones — from cinnamon to pepper corns, turmeric to nutmeg and cardamom. You will also find European favourites like cocoa and vanilla as well as the elusive aloe vera here. Walk through the park and see them grown while hoarding on for your kitchen!
Lankatilaka Vihara Temple
A Buddhist shrine, the Lankatilaka Vihara Temple is known for its ancient architecture in Kandy. The foundation of this shrine is a natural rock named Panhalgala that sustains this temple upright till date. The delicate Sinhalese sculpting adds an other world charm to its walls and pillars while paintings depict the Kandyan Era in full detail.
Located atop a hill, Wales Park is an out and out family destination. Tourists with kids find their way here in Kandy and enjoy a beautiful day out — picnicking over the view of Kandy Lake, visiting the captured Japanese field gun on the hill, enjoying the views and breathing in fresh cool air.
Royal Palace of Kandy
Kandy was once an opulent kingdom, ruled by the Kandyan kings. Their royal palace, now called Royal Palace of Kandy is the last memory of Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe — the Kandayan king from 14th century CE. The palace is strong and has stood the test of time and invaders, including the Portuguese. You can visit the Queen’s Bathing pavilion, Royal Court, Royal gardens, Dalada Maligawa and the famous Temple of Tooth.
Kandy Clock Tower
A brilliant piece of Victorian-style architecture in the area — Kandy Clock Tower deserves a visit at least once on your trip to Kandy. It is a popular landmark in the town, and hence very well maintained too. Dating back to 1950, the clock tower was designed by Shirley de Alwis and built in the memory of his son by Haji Mohamed Ismail. It marks the centre of the town of Kandy.
Canbuy Gem Museum
A unique place in every right, the Canbuy Gem Museum, as the name suggests, is a museum that holds gemstones. In their rawest, most base form, these rare gems, minerals and crystals are displayed for everyone’s eyes. You also get to see fossils that are probably older than the dinosaurs and explore the history of every display. And if you fall in love with one of these precious gems — you can buy something similar -- government approved, from the in-house shop!
Knuckles Mountain Range
Named so for its unique shape because it looks like a set of human knuckles, the Knuckles Mountain Range has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the waterfalls and trails hidden in its ranges and exotic natural biodiversity springing a new surprise at you at every turn, the place is a must visit for nature and adventure lovers. There are about 34 mountains here that make the knuckles, inviting you to hike up and down the grooves.