Kandy sits in the heart of Sri Lanka, the last royal capital sitting high in the hills, a natural fortress that held out against the Portuguese and Dutch, only to fall to the British in 1815. Travel here from Colombo and you get a sense of why it held out so long, winding roads that drop dramatically to wide rivers and jungle climb up 7,000 feet to the city itself.
Head To The High Country
The first thing you’ll notice is that you’ve left the humid tropics behind and now you start your journey into Sri Lanka’s hill country. The town itself is enclosed within the hills that protected it for so long and here you’ll find a range of beautiful boutique hotels from which you can dive in and out of this frantic town.
The Temple Of The Tooth
At Kandy’s heart is the lake and here you’ll find the complex of temples with the Temple of the Tooth as the centrepiece. Built five centuries ago to house one Buddha’s teeth, Sri Lankan’s believed that whoever possessed the tooth had divine right to rule their land and this gold-roofed temple draws in tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. Walk around grounds and other highlights include the handsome bathing house that encloses part of the lake so that the queen could bathe out of sight, the Royal Palace, Audience Hall and Buddhism Museum. Ceremonies are held 3 times a day and are particularly well attended at weekends. For those interested in Buddhist rituals we will arrange your visit to coincide with these times.
Perdeniya Botanical Gardens
On the edge of town you’ll find the Perdeniya Botanical Gardens. Kandy’s benign climate is perfect for many exotic and commercial plants and here the British pioneered the growing of coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona (quinine). The gardens stretch over 60 hectares and as you walk round you’ll see that it’s very popular with courting couples and for family outings. A relaxed end to a busy day.
Where to next? If you’re heading up the tea country there’s the option to take the train that runs all the way to Ella, high in the hills and offers the best views of the tea estates, forests, paddy fields and village life. Or stop off at Kitulgala for a white water rafting.