Twenty-four hours enjoying the timeless heritage of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s ancient royal capital, is time well spent
Twenty-four hours is not a long time to appreciate the full wonder of Kandy, the historic royal capital of Sri Lanka’s glorious Hill Country and one of our nine Unesco World Heritage sites.
Which is why A Luxury Travel Blog has posted this quick guide to not wasting a minute! Writes Harshi Hewage: “This former Kingdom is a colourful, bustling city of markets, temples, spice gardens, a picturesque lake and surrounded by scenic natural beauty.”
The splendid Royal Botanical Gardens are an amazing site to behold
The amazing display of plants and flowers at the Royal Botanical Gardens is high on the list of must-sees. “A nature lover’s paradise, these vast and beautifully maintained gardens are home to a great variety of native medicinal plants, fragrant flowers, spices and towering rows of palms and giant bamboo.”
The orchid nursery showcases hundreds of delicate orchids from all over the world, “while botanists can be booked to walk you through the fascinating facts and ayurvedic uses to the plants. If you prefer a more relaxed excursion, simply spend hours strolling the maze of paths through this 147 acre garden wonderland”.
Kandy Lake is the focal point in the centre of the city
Next up, Kandy Lake. Built in 1807 by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, it is not only a beautiful scenic oasis in the middle of the city, it is also a landing strip for the Cinnamon Air seaplane service from the capital Colombo.
Says Harshi: “Shrouded in myth and tales that local Kandyans are always willing to share … shaded by frangipani trees, enjoy a walk around the 3.4km perimeter of the lake to really take in the vibe of this frantic city.
“Be sure to take a time out and cool down with a snack of pineapple doused in salt, pepper and chilli, a favourite local delicacy from mobile street vendors balancing their produce precariously on their heads.”
The Empire Café celebrates Sri Lanka’s peerless cuisine
Our peerless cuisine is always high on the agenda of and visitor to Sri Lanka, and Harshi heads for the Empire Cafe, a relaxed foodie haven down bustling Temple Street, in time for lunch.
“The menu offers a range of fresh Western dishes, signature Empire classics with a Lankan twist as well as a divine rice and curry spread, all made with locally sourced, seasonal produce.
“Choose to dine in one of the kitsch turquoise and pink dining rooms or take a seat on the breezy verandah over-looking the Temple of the Tooth and watch the lotus sellers going about their daily trade.”
The Temple of the Tooth, Kandy’s most sacred Buddhist site
In the evening, the Temple of the Tooth is Kandy’s most sacred site, “a Buddhist temple and palatial complex of atriums and gardens with the most revered and intricately decorated chamber said to house the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha.
“Purchase a lotus from the vendors on Temple Street then take a twilight guided tour through the incense scented grounds of this significant site alongside hundreds of worshippers dressed in white, making their daily offerings.
“If you are lucky enough to be in Kandy in August, book your tickets in advance to Esala Perahera for a jaw dropping, vivid, parade of cultural and historical significance that kicks off at nightfall.”
A night to remember at the splendid Kandy House boutique hotel
Finally, for a good night’s sleep after the tiring contentment of the day, head for The Kandy House. This beautifully appointed boutique hotel, formerly a royal ancestral home, now blends all the creature comforts of today.
“With only nine uniquely designed bedrooms this property has the feel of staying in warm family home rather than a hotel.
“At the end of the night retreat to your spacious and richly decorated bedroom, prepared with fine linens and a luxurious four-poster bed fit for a King and Queen!”
Read more here.