One of Unesco’s world heritage sites, the Sacred City of Kandy – also known as the city of Senkadagalapura – is a large city and sacred Buddhist site nestled in the hill country of central Sri Lanka.
It was the capital city of the Sinhalese Kingdom (Sri Lanka’s last independent Kingdom); which fell to the British in 1815 after surviving nearly three centuries of colonial incursions by both the Portuguese and Dutch; and has a rich cultural legacy shaped by its independent Sinhalese traditions and history.
Kandy: Temple of the Tooth
The Temple of the Tooth (‘Sri Dalada Maligawa’) is a 17th century temple, housing the region’s most significant Buddhist relic: what is believed to be a tooth of the Buddha himself.
The temple is open to tourists and pilgrims during prayers (‘puja’), who often come bearing offerings such as lotus flowers. The tooth itself is encased in a gold casket and cannot be seen.
Kandy Lake is a man-made lake, built in the heart of Kandy city by the last king of Sri Lanka in 1807.
The lake was intended to complement and add beauty to the Temple of the Tooth. Visitors can enjoy a scenic walk around the lake, with the area closest to the Temple of the Tooth being particularly pleasant.
The Royal Palace:
The ancient Royal Palace of Kandy was home to the members of the Sinhalese Monarchy, before the British took over the area in 1815. Located on the north shore of Kandy, it is now open to tourists and hosts the National Museum of Kandy and the Elephant Museum.
Royal Botanical Garden:
Dating back to around 1371 and once reserved for royalty, the Royal Botanical Garden, or ‘Peradeniya Botanic Garden’, (approximately 5.5km west of Kandy city) now welcomes 2 million visitors per year, who come from over the world to admire its vast collection of orchids, spices, royal palms, medicinal plants, and a giant Javan fig tree. Over 4000 species can be found across the gardens’ 147 acres.