Kandy is Sri Lankas last Kingdom Historic City situated in the center of the hills and most picturesque city in the country. This world heritage city hosts the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha in the 15th Centaury Temple. Every August you can experience the most colorful pageant of Asia. The cultural festival of Elephants, Drummers, Dancers and Musicians exhibiting Traditions of Sri Lankan Culture. The Botanical garden, Museum, Elephant bathing Kandy is Sri Lankas last Kingdom Historic City situated in the center of the hills. This world heritage city hosts the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha in the 15th Centaury Temple. Every August you can experience the cultural festival of Elephants, Folk Dancing and Music. The Botanical garden, Museum, Elephant bathing and Hand Crafts, Kandyan dancing and several ancient temples are major attractions. Every traveler visit Kandy on their tour on the way or return from any destination.
History of Kandy
Kandy, the last royal capital of Sri Lanka is a major tourist destination. ( 115kM from Colombo at 465 meters above sea level). Famous for the Temple of the Tooth and many other temples the city could be called the cultural capital of the island.
Kandy Perahera, the pageant of the temple of tooth where Buddha's tooth is kept is held either in July or August each year to parade the golden caskets is a must see itenary if one is visiting Sri Lanka during these months. The final night procession is the most spectacular event of the country. More than 50 elephants parade the city accompanied by the drummers, dancers and chieftains.
he city established in the 15th century was the last royal capital where 2500 years of royal rule ended. This bustling market town is rich in cultural diversity has plenty of iteneries to offer to the tourists from songs dances and handy crafts to ancient temples and adventure activities. Kandy is a good transit point to the cultural triangle to the north or hill country to the south. The city is also a good source of souvenirs or to experience many cultural performances at it's various hotels in the city.
The Temple of Tooth
The main attraction of the city and also the most sacred Buddhist establishment in Sri Lanka is where one of Buddha's tooth is being kept. Built in the 16th century but improvements and additions have been done to this structure until the fall of the Kandy kingdom. A golden canopy was added recently. Daily rituals are being carried out at various offering times to the shrine. A dress code applies for entering the temple. The magnificence has been enhanced by the octagonal pavilion.
The Old Royal Palace compound
Old place buildings are just beside the temple of the tooth. Among them are the old royal palace, quarters of the royal concubines; queen's chambers the council chambers and the armoury. Some of these are now being used as museums depicting the exhibits of the Kandyan era. The council chambers built in 1784 is a unique example of wooden architecture of the Kandyan period. The Kandyan Convention was signed here ceding the country to the British in 1815.
This 14 century temple is situated about 15Km from the town. The structure of the temple is influenced by the South Indian architecture and built on a rock. The stupa is on a high stone platform.
The main attraction is the intricate wooden carvings of this 14th century shrine dedicated to God Kataragama. There is also a Buddhist temple on location. 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.
Arts and Crafts
Kandy is synonymous with arts and crafts of Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the country. It is probably because the Kandy is where all elite who patronised these crafts survived during 300 years of war with the Europeans. Kandy is probably the best place to buy most of the handicrafts produced in Sri Lanka because there are number of shops catering to the tourists. Tourists could watch local crafts coming into life at the At the Kandyan Art Association.
At Kundasale, about 4km from Kandy, a village has been established recently to settle local craftsmen and their families. Visitors could watch craftmen at work and purchase their products on site.
Adjacent to the Temple of the tooth are three of the four major Hindu shrines taking part in the Kandy Perahera. Shrines are dedicated to Gods Vishnu and Natha and Goddess Patthini. The forth shrine is further towards the town. Visitors to these shrines could witness the Hindu religion customs though most of the worshipers today are Buddhists. Hindu shrines taking part in the Buddhist pageant is a good example of the Sinhala and Tamil co-existence that lasted for centuries. Four of the last Sri Lankan kings were of south Indian origin.
Kandy is surrounded with many major Buddhist temples. On the shores of the lake are Malwaththa and Asgiri temples. Fine painted murals of Buddhist stories in these temple buildings are a good example of the arts in the Kandy period while paintings of the Hindagala temple at Peradeniya are of the 7th century.
Lankatilake temple is a magnificent building built on rock at a scenic location which also has fine paintings.
The Royal Botanical Gardens
Once a pleasure gardens of a Kandyan Queen this 40ha land is a beautiful park with numerous tropical foliage and the best in the island. The Commander of the allied forces in Southeast Asia Earl Mountbatten had the headquarters in the garden during the Second World War.