Kandy, a holy place of Buddhist worship
This scenic, ancient and historic capital city is not only one of the world’s holiest places of Buddhist worship, but also one of Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites.
A must-visit for any traveller to our renowned Hill Country, Kandy is redolent with colorful tradition while embracing everything that modernity and today’s switched-on traveller has come to expect.
Many arrange their visit months in advance to coincide with the famed 10-day Esala Perahera (the Festival of the Tooth), a Buddhist celebration featuring parades of lavishly costumed dancers and elephants.
Legend has it that when the Buddha died in 543 BCE, his left canine tooth was retrieved from the funeral pyre. It was eventually brought to Sri Lanka, and whoever possessed it is said to have a divine right to rule.
Temple of the Tooth
This most venerated of Buddhist relics is now kept secure in a golden casket in the Temple of the Tooth at the heart of the Royal Palace complex just north of Kandy lake.
The entire complex covers a large area and includes the three-storey Alut Maligawa, a shrine displaying dozens of sitting Buddhas and containing the Sri Dalada Museum, with its stunning array of gilded gifts to the temple.
Kandy is the perfect starting point for a visit to the Hill Country, and some of the country’s best and nicest boutique hotels and traditional guest houses nestle among the surrounding hills and valleys.
International broadcaster CNN recently named the rail journey from Colombo to Kandy as one of the best and most scenic in the world. Many visitors arrive by train and fly back on the seaplane service that operates from Kandy lake.
A little highpoint of any visit is the hilltop Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue, with its staircase at the back which leads to a viewing platform which puts the entire city at your feet. Amazing!