Kandy-a major tourist destination-is also known as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. Nestled in the hills at an altitude of 488 m, it is located at a distance of 115 km from Colombo.
Kandy has a rich history. It was originally known as Senkadagala pura after a hermit named Senkada who lived there. Many of Sinhalese people call it Mahanuwara meaning the Great City. The name Kandy was derived by the colonial rulers from the word Kanda in Sinhala, meaning a hill. Kandy was the stronghold of the Sinhalese kings, who promoted and protected the local culture until the city fell to the British in 1815.
Today a bustling commercial city, Kandy is famous for the Kandy Perahara-a huge cultural pageant that takes place in the month of July or August. It is one of the most colorful processions of the world. Thousands of drummers and dancers accompanying a parade of ornamented elephants perform in the streets of Kandy. The leading tusker carries the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, while the spectators pay homage to it. The procession moves along the streets for seven consecutive nights and concludes on the day of the August full moon.
City Travel Guide
The Temple of Tooth: Also known as Dalda Maligawa, it is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. Here, one of the Buddha's teeth is kept. The temple was built in the 17th century. A golden canopy has been added recently. Daily rituals are performed three times a day-at 4.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m., and 6.30 p.m. respectively.
Gadaladeniya Temple: Built in 1344, the temple is situated on a hilltop at a distance of 15 km from the town. The temple is inspired by Dravidian architecture and gives a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside.
Peradeniya Gardens: The garden-a paradise for nature lover- was built in 14th century during the reign of king Vikrama Bahu III. The best-known attraction of the garden is the orchid House, which houses more than 300 varieties of exquisite orchids. A spice garden located here gives you a first hand account of the trees and plants used in the traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
Embekke Temples: This 14th century temple is famous for the intricate wooden carvings dedicated to God Katargama. Almost the entire structures of some wooden buildings are decorated with dancers, musicians, wrestlers, legendary beasts and birds. Nearby are the ruins of an ancient rest house with similar pillars carved in stone.
Lankatilaka Temple: Lankatilaka temple dates back to 14th century. It is built on the summit of a rock called Panhalgala. The temple provides a magnificent panoramic view of the surrounding hills, paddy fields and the diverse vegetation around it.
Knuckle Mountains: The Knuckles range is about 90 square miles in extent and is a detached block of the central highlands separated from the main highlands by the the Dumbara Valley. There are 35 peaks rising to more than 3000 feet (915 m) in the Knuckles range. It has a rich variety of flora and fauna.
Hanthana Mountains: Hanthana Mountains are spread on the outskirts of Kandy and are a source of many rivulets and streams. They are an ideal destination for the trekkers.
Udawatte Kele: Udawatte Kele is a primeval forest located above the Dalada Maligawa. It is also known as the Forbidden Forest of the Kings of Kandy. It contains a variety of trees such as Talipot trees, cinnamon, olive, rattan cane, betel, bo-trees, kitul palms, jak, mara, betelnut and arecanut.
Hindu Shrines: There are four Hindu shrines dedicated to Gods Vishnu and Natha and Goddess Patthini in Kandy. Three of them are located adjacent to the Temple of Tooth, while the fourth one is towards the town.
Buddhist Temples: There are many Buddhist temples surrounding Kandy. Famous among them are Malwaththa and Asgiri temples located on the shores of the lake.
Source: Tourism-Sri Lanka