The Hill Capital of Kandy was the last bastion of the Sinhala kings and is rich in history and culture. Set around an attractive man-made lake in Sri Lanka's scenic hill country, Kandy is a charming city offering a living record of a magnificent past. Its position at an altitude of 500m means Kandy enjoys a cooler and more pleasant temperature than Colombo, its low-lying urban counterpart, and is a good base from which to explore the surrounding Knuckles Range.
It is also the site of Sri Lanka’s greatest annual spectacle, the Esala Perahera festival, a 10-day event held usually in late July or early August – celebrating the sacred tooth allegedly snatched from Buddha’s funeral pyre, which now rests in Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa ). Whether the tooth exists or not is unverifiable, as no-one living has seen it. Tooth or no tooth, Esala Perahera is an awesome show. The Temple of the Toot is located in the centre of town, alongside the attractive lake. Here, elephants paraded during Esala Perahera can be seen in the courtyards of the temple, along with small shrines dedicated to Buddha. Local women sell lotus flowers to worshippers and monkeys scamper around the buildings. The main temple contains the well-guarded tooth casket, as well as a series of elaborate Buddha images and a detailed legend on how the tooth arrived in Kandy.
Not far from Kandy is the Pinnewala Elephant Sanctuary, situated in the hill country. It was set up to care for and protect abandoned or orphaned young wild elephants including babies. Controlled by their mahouts (keepers), around 80 elephants are fed, bathed and cared for at this sanctuary of sorts.
SEE ALSO: Nearby site of interest - Temple of the Tooth
To get you started with planning your holiday to Kandy, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Sri Lanka