The most scenic city of Sri Lanka.
If you imagine Sri Lanka as a country of lush, rolling hills and picturesque tea plantations you don’t want to miss Kandy. The second largest city after the capital Colombo, Kandy is considered to be the most scenic city in all of Sri Lanka. The city lies on Kandy Lake and offers its visitors a once-in-a-lifetime stop at a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage city.
Kandy was founded in the 14th century and has remained a centre of political, cultural, and religious activity in the country to the present day. Kandy’s most famous site (and one of the reasons it achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site status) is undoubtedly the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dālada Māligāwa). This famous Buddhist pilgrimage site is believed to hold the relic of the tooth of Buddha. The relic is the most highly reverenced object of worship in Buddhism, making the temple one of the most important holy shrines in the world for its followers. This is a perfect place to add a bit of spirituality to your holidays in Sri Lanka
If you are tired of fighting off the crowds and longing for a bit of nature, the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens should be next on your list. Only 5km west of Kandy, the gardens are easily accessible by car or public transport. These beautiful gardens include more than 4000 species of plants over 147 acres. The Botanical Garden’s orchid collection is world-renown and well worth the visit alone. As you walk along the paths, be sure and keep your eyes open for a glimpse of the endangered Sri Lankan Flying Squirrel who calls the gardens home.
For those looking for something off-the-beaten-path during their holidays in Sri Lanka, a visit to the Kandy Garrison Cemetery is well worth the time. This colonial-era cemetery was founded in 1817 for the British colonialists who had taken residence in Kandy. The most famous resident is Sir John D’Oyly, the British officer who led the takeover of Kandy in 1815. The cemetery offers its visitors a unique window into Sri Lanka’s colonial past. There are helpful custodians on site, who are more than happy to show you around. Donations, of course, are gratefully accepted.
No holidays in Sri Lanka is complete without a stop in Kandy. The best time to visit is in July or August when the Esala Perahera festival is full swing. Processions of elaborately dressed elephants and fire-dancers are among the highlights. This amazing city will have you planning your next trip to Sri Lanka before you even get back on the plane.
Written by Jessica Galbraith
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