5 Beautiful places in Kandy
Kandy is the destination that devoted to the teaching of Buddha. And it is the main reason for many travellers to choose Kandy as the base of their Sri Lanka tour while they travel in the island. The culture, tradition, customs and devotion to the religion makes this city unique in many ways. You may be wondering to see if there is a country that is so much dedicated to a religion. When religions and traditions are neglected by the economic development, Sri Lankans are getting closer to it more and more. You see the people are praising Buddha and his teaching and temples are packed with their offerings. But in this article, we are not going to highlight purely religious places in Kandy. These are 5 beautiful places in Kandy and it is a collection of religious attractions, natural attractions and man-made monuments.
Kandy is the cultural centre of Sri Lanka, it is the most sacred city with the temple of the tooth. Kandy is must be visited place for travellers in Sri Lanka and it is part of most Sri Lanka road trips. Kandy was the last capital of Sri Lanka and endowed with traditional arts and crafts, customs, traditions, and ceremonies. Kandy is the city with amazing typical Sri Lanka architecture and many British built edifies. Its architectural value is highly adorned by the visitors of the city. Kandy is the quintessence, Sri Lanka. Every item of typical Sri Lankan culture and tradition is very evident here, for this Kandy is one of the most visited cities in Sri Lanka. Kandy is surrounded by a large number of Buddhist religious places that would keep you busy for many weeks. So, are you interested in the culture, tradition, customs and ceremonies of Sri Lanka, and then Kandy is the city that would quench your thirst.
Kandy is the major city of the central province of Sri Lanka. Probably there is no other city on the island with a calm and serene atmosphere like in Kandy. The city shows huge contrast against busy places such as Colombo. The city has a unique blend of culture, nature, history and modern life that tempts the visitors coming back to Kandy. Beautiful tree-fringed roads, comfortable cool climate, colonial building, historical sites, bars, restaurants, natural attractions are some of the favourites of the people who come to Kandy.
With the unique upcountry Sinhalese culture, Kandy has a large number of top-notch attractions such as the tooth relic temple, Peradeniya botanical garden, Pinnawala elephant orphanage. Kandy is centrally located in the island, hence the city can be accessed from any part of the island without much effort. The tourist who spends the holiday on beach resorts on the west coast, east coast and south coast such as Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Nilaweli can easily explore Kandy in a day tour. Kandy can be also covered in a day tour from Bentota to Colombo.
Following are 5 Beautiful places in Kandy that should not be missed by the visitors of Kandy.
The Lake of Kandy
At the southern end of Kandy is the man-made Lake known as “Kiri Muhuda” (Milk see). The Lake came into being under the rule of King Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe (1798-1815), the last king of Sri Lanka. The lake was not originally planned as a part of the city and it was a result of the dam that built across the paddy field between the king’s palace and Malwatta Maha Vihara, which situated in the northern direction of the palace. It had been a difficult task to reach the temple from the palace due to the muddy surface, upon which king had to walk.
In order to overcome such difficulties, a dam was built to help the king to reach the temple easily over the muddy surface of the paddy field. In a subsequent rain, the paddy field came under water due to the newly built dam. But flooded paddy field that was covered with muddy water added gorgeous appearance to the city. Due to the white colourized water, it was named as “Kiri Muhuda” and the king decided to retain the water and make a lake, he immediately commanded his ministry to create a lake by removing the mud from the paddy field and fill the lake by redirecting streams around the city to the lake.
Kandy lake is located next to the Walukul bemma (the wall) of the temple of the tooth relic, towards the western side of Tooth relic temple. The island, in the middle of the Kandy lake, is what left from the old paddy field. Initially, it was the ground for the island pavilion of the king that built in 1812 and housed the harem of the king. During the British rule, it was used as the stores for weapons.
The fate of chief architecture
Later the king sought the help of the chief architecture or “Mularachchiya” in order to develop the lake further arousing the anger of noblemen against the Mularachchiya. Several days later the dead body of Mularachchiya was floating on the waters of the lake. The king was very sad about the fate of the talented architecture but the king was not able to find the criminals. Later the king was convinced that he was drowned by himself due to the fact that he committed a crime as the lake was planned. Due to his plan, a large number of animals was killed as the lake was constructed and unseen forces made him be drowned by himself according to the Karma (fate).
It is believed, since then, every year at least a person is drowned in the lake as the prophecy of a learned monk, who advised the king in state affairs. Even today several such incidents are reported in the city and people thoroughly believe the prophecy. Even though the prophecy has not been able to keep the visitors away from the lake and at the western end of the lake is a boat dispatcher, where one can rent a boat for a ride in the lake. A large number of people is ready to take the risk and enjoy a boat ride on the beautiful lake. The promenade around the lake provides the possibility of a relaxing walk while enjoying the fauna and flora around the lake. The promenade is estimated to be around 3.5 km. the lake is estimated to be around 1.2 km in length while the maximum measured to be around 150m.
Lankatilaka is a popular attraction in the district of Kandy. The temple is dating back Gampola period (14thcentury AD). The King Buwanekabahu was reining the country during this period and one of his ministers known as Senadhilankara is considered to be the constructor of the temple. The present temple is consisting of 2 stories and 80 feet in height. According to the historians, the temple had been bigger than the modern temple in the past and was consisting of 4 stories. A beautiful moonstone is caved at the entrance of the temple and it is carved on to the natural rock, where the temple stands.
The main entrance is decorated with a Makara Torana. The statues of Lankatilaka show lot of similarities to Indian styled statues. But the paintings show the characters of Kandyan style paintings. The roof is covered with flat roofing tiles used in the Kandyan period. Even though there had been many large Buddha statues in the temple, today none of them are to be found in Lankatilaka. At present only 4 small Buddha statues in meditation posture are to be seen in the temple. Lankatilaka was renovated under the reign of King Parakramabahu 6th, who ruled the country from Kotte. Lankatilaka is not just a temple but also an ancient construction with typical Sri Lankan arts and crafts and architecture.
Victoria is off the beaten track attraction for tourist who visits the city of Kandy. Victoria dam is one of the biggest constructions in modern Sri Lanka, is about 50 km east of the Kandy city. It is located on the Kandy-Mahiyangana main road. The dam is 122 meters in height and 520 meters long and stores the water in the Victoria reservoir. The water is directed through a tunnel about one and a half kilometres further down the river, where the force of moving water turns to the electricity. One-fourth of the electricity required for the island is generated here. Power generation project and the dam is a part of the Mahaweli Development Project, the biggest development project of the island so far. Kotmale, Randenigala and Rantabe are the other hydropower generation projects under the Mahaweli development project.
Mahaweli development project was started in the 1970’s. One main object of the development project was to generate the hydroelectricity to meet the increasing electricity demand in the country. The second main object was to irrigate the lands in the dry zone and increase the agricultural products in the region. A canal system came being with the project in order to spread the water throughout the dry zone. Under the Mahaweli project, more than 100,000 families were resettled in the dry zone enabling them to them to start new farmland. Today, nearly 17% of the rice required on the island is produced by the farmers in the region. Mahaweli development project had been able to considerably increase the island’s GDP. The average income of the farmers in the areas covered by the Mahaweli project is more than double the income of the farmers of the other areas in the island.
The observation terrace commands a beautiful view over the Victoria dam and the Victoria reservoir. It is open for public, throughout the week from 8.00 am to 06.00 pm. One can listen to the lectures on hydroelectricity generation using the water and usage of water for various other purposes.
Highway museum Sri Lanka
Road network of Sri Lanka is one of the most useful contributions for the country’s development from the British colonial era. Even though the High way museum was constructed in 1989; the construction of Kandy-Colombo road was started in 1820 and opened to traffic in 1921 before it was gravelled. It was connecting Colombo and Kandy enabling British planters to transport goods between the two destinations. A good communication between Colombo and Kandy was the highest priority during that period in order to attract the British investors. Being the best region for cultivating the main crop (Tea) during the British period, British planter demanded a considerable good road network connecting the port of Colombo and their plantations in the mountains. Therefore the convenient and prompt method of transportation method between Colombo and Kandy was a need of the hour. Due to the high importance, British governors took prompt action in restoring and systematizing the road network, especially between Colombo and Kandy.
The highway museum is located in Mawanella on the way to Kandy from Colombo. It houses a large number of equipment and machines used for the construction of roads in the early days of the British colonial era. Most of these machines were imported from England and most of the machines are steam powered. This valuable museum shows a model of Bogoda Bridge, a masterpiece of ancient Sinhalese engineers.
The museum is located at the 61st-mile post from Colombo on the A1 main road from Colombo to Kandy. It is located nearby the cross, where the A1 road crosses over the Upcountry railway track. Tar rollers, weighing machines, steam Rollers and Tar boilers are some of the noteworthy artefacts here. A steamroller is housed in the main building of the museum. The steamroller was imported in the early 1900’s by the British. The roller, which is to be found in the main building, was powered by elephants. Weighing machine was used for deciding the amount of firewood in the construction of the road. The tools and barrel of tar and several other artefacts that are dating back to early British period are also housed in the museum building.
Governor Brownrigg planned the connection between Kandy and Colombo by a military road through the Kadugannawa pass. Captain Dawson was the first engineer who supervised the construction of the road. Even though he started with the construction of the road, Mr Dawson was not able to see the completion of the first highway of Sri Lanka; Captain Dawson passed away in 1829. Later a monument was erected in Kadugannawa in honour of Captain Dawson.
Highway museum is a valuable attraction in Kandy for the people who are interested in the history of the island. The machines and equipment in the museum are very rare specimens of antiques in the country. The museum is often visited by school children when they on education tours and during the school holiday in Sri Lanka. The museum is open to the general public throughout the week and no entrance fee levied by the visitors.