Kandy is the second largest city in the country after Colombo. Located 115 Km from Colombo (2 hours drive), Kandy is the geteway to the hill country.
Kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings era of Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of Central province and one of the main religious cities of the country. Kandy is best known for being the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.
According to history Kandy was first established by King Vikramabahu III (1357 - 1374 CE), who was the monarch of the Kingdom of Gampola. Initially it was named as 'Senkadagalapura' by which Kandy is still referred among people. But Sena Sammatha Wickramabahu (1473 - 1511 CE) was the first King who chose to rule from Kandy. Kandy was the capital city of the last remaining independent kingdom in the island conquered subsequently by Portuguese, dutch and british. As the capital Kandy became the home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha, which symbolizes a 4th century tradition that used to be linked to the sinhalese manarchy, since the protector of the sacred relic was the ruler of the land. Kandy stayed independent until the early 19th century. On 2 March 1815, a treaty known as the Kandyan Convention was signed between the British and the Kandyan aristocrats. With this treaty, Kandy recognized the King of England as its King and became a british protectrate.
Kandy has become a major transportation hub, because of its geographic location. Being the gateway to the central highlands of the country, the city can be reached by major motorways in every direction of the island. A tour by train from Colombo to Badulla via Kandy is an unforgettable experience. The main roads Colombo - Kandy and Kandy - Nuwara Eliya are two of the most scenic roads of Sri Lanka. Colombo - Kandy road passes through rubber plantations and paddy fields. Kandy - Nuwara Eliya road cuts through paddy fields and seamless tea plantations. Both roads claw their way up winding, rounding over the rings of hills.
Palace of The Tooth Relic -
It is palace which houses the sacred Relic of Tooth of Lord Buddha and one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world.
Royal Palace -
It is the last royal residence of Sri Lankan kings era, where King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha resided until he was overthrown by the British in 1815. It was once part of a large palace complex that included the royal court the Magul Maduwa and the Temple of the Tooth that held the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Adjacent to the Royal Palace is theVictorian era building that until recently housed Kandy High Court.
Kandy Lake -
Built in 1807 by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha of Sri Lanka Kandy Lake is a man made reservoir next to the Temple of the Tooth. There are many legends and folklore regarding the lake. One such is that the small island at its center was used by the king's helm for bathing and was connected to the palace by asecret tunnel.
Lankathilaka Temple -
The Lankatilaka Temple is considered to be one of the best preserved examples of traditional Sinhalese temple architecture. Built on a rock, the temple is reached by a long series of rock cut steps. An arched passage of the image house leads through a Mandapa (hall) into the inner sanctum which is richly decorated with beautiful floral designs. The two side walls and the ceiling are decorated with paintings. In the inner sanctum is a colossal seated image of the Buddha.
Gadaladeniaya Temple was build by king Wickramabahu in 1344 during the Gampola Kingdom time.
Embekke Devalaya -
Embekka Devalaya (Embekka Temple) was built by the King Vikramabahu III of Gampola Era (AD 1357 - 1374) in Sri Lanka. The Devalaya in Embekka is dedicated to the worship of Mahasen, popularly known as Katharagama Deviyo (God). A local deity called Devatha Bandara is also worshiped at this site. The shrine consists of three sections, the "Sanctum of Garagha", the "Digge" or "Dancing Hall" and the "Hevisi Mandapaya" or the "Drummers' Hall". The Drummers' Hall that has drawn the attention of visitors to the site, due to the splendid wood carvings of its ornate pillars and its high pitched roof. The carvings, which adorn the wooden pillars of the drummers' hall, as well as the "Vahalkada" (the entrance porch of the devala, which is said to be older) are some of the best examples of Sinhalese art.
Royal Botanical Garden - Peradeniya -
Royal Botanical Garden is renowned for its collection of a variety of orchids. It includes more than 4000 species of plants, including of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. Attached to it is the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. The total area of the botanical garden is 147 acres (0.59 km2).
Udawatta Forest -
A protected sanctuary situated in the heart of the city, north of Temple of Tooth Relic.
Royal Palace Park -
Also known as Wace Park, it is a small park which overlooks Kandy Lake and most of the city.