Table of Contents
- 1 Tourist attractions in Kandy
- 2 Kandy Sri Lanka
- 3 What is the importance of Kandy?
- 4 Weather in Kandy city
- 5 Natural protection of Kandy
- 6 Kandy is the logistic hub in the upcountry
- 7 Trip to Kandy from Colombo
- 8 How long it takes to drive from Colombo to Kandy?
- 9 Public transport makes you miss important tourist attractions
- 10 What are tourist attractions to include on the trip from Colombo to Kandy
- 11 Kandy and Nuwara Eliya 2 days tour
- 12 Train timetable from Colombo main railway station to Kandy
- 13 Ticket Price from Colombo to Kandy
- 14 How to book train seats from Colombo to Kandy
- 15 Using public buses from Kandy to Colombo
- 16 What are the 6 Best Reasons to Travel to Kandy?
- 17 What are the 14 best places to visit in Kandy?
- 18 What are the 13 best things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka?
- 19 What are the 6 Best places to eat in Kandy?
- 20 Accommodation in Kandy
- 21 Temple of the tooth an important tourist attraction in Kandy
- 22 Natha Devala – among the best places to visit in Kandy
- 23 Tooth relic temple museum-places to visit in Kandy
- 24 International Buddhist Museum Kandy
- 25 Kandyan Cultural Show among the best things to see in Kandy trip
- 26 Places to visit in Kandy – Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
- 27 Visiting commonwealth war cemetery on a trip to Kandy
- 28 Viewpoint Kandy-among the best places to visit in Kandy
- 29 Gadaladeniya temple-Places to visit in Kandy
- 30 Places to visit in Kandy – historical church of Wahakotte
- 31 Things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka visiting Buddhist temple of Devanagala
- 32 Ambuluwawa tower-Places to visit in Kandy
- 33 Places to visit in Kandy-Rain forest (Udawattakele sanctuary)
- 34 Places to visit in Kandy-Lankathilaka Temple
- 35 Places to visit in Kandy-Embekke Temple
- 36 Why Embekke temple is special?
- 37 Explore Kandy tourist places with Seerednipity tours
Kandy is the capital of the central province of Sri Lanka, it is popular due to historical value, colonial heritage, forest cover and tooth relic temple. By far tooth relic temple is the most popular tourist attraction in Kandy, which is a part of the every Kandy city tour. In this lengthy article, we discuss 14 best places to visit in Kandy and intended to give you a clear idea about the tourist attraction in Kandy and activities available for travellers.
Tourist attractions in Kandy
Kandy is one of the most visited cities in Sri Lanka and a large number of travellers are heading to this charming city every day. This article is about the top 14 places to visit in Kandy. A large number of our readers asking us questions like “which is the most popular tourist attraction in Kandy?” , “what are the things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka?”, “What are the beautiful places in Kandy to visit on the Kandy city our?”, ” what are the places to see on a trip to Kandy?”, all these queries are related to Kandy city tour. Invariably they are asking for places in Kandy to visit in a Kandy city tour.
Most places listed in this blog post included in the Kandy sightseeing tour. I thought of making this descriptive note on several important places to visit in Kandy, in order to help the travellers, who plan a trip to Kandy. All the attraction mentioned below can be covered in a day tour to Kandy from Colombo.
Kandy Sri Lanka
Kandy Is a beautiful city in Sri Lanka’s upcountry and it lures most travellers who visit the island, due to its natural beauty and historical importance. Most travellers who visit the island rarely miss this vibrant city and thus it is referred to as a tourist hotspot on the island.
Probably there is no other city on the island with a calm and serene atmosphere like in Kandy. Kandy is the cultural hub of the island, where Sri Lanka’s culture and tradition can still be seen alive than anywhere else on the island. If you are a foreign traveller you must consider to make a trip to Kandy because a trip to Sri Lanka is not incomplete if you miss Kandy.
What is the importance of Kandy?
Kandy is the capital 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. Kandy is the cultural hub of the island, where Sri Lanka’s culture and tradition can still be seen than anywhere else on the island. So don’t forget to head to this beautiful charming city during your Sri Lanka road trip and discover some of the important historical and cultural places to visit in Kandy. You will not regret by drop-into this beautiful city because it offers many interesting places to visit and things to do.
Weather in Kandy city
Kandy has a mild temperature compared to the scorching heat that dominates in most other parts of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a country in the tropics, therefore, most parts of the island such as northern Sri Lanka, western Sri Lanka, southern and eastern parts of the country records high-temperature 30-35 °C with high humidity. But the climate of Kandy (central highland) is somewhat different, here you can feel the tropical rainforest climate.
Natural protection of Kandy
Kandy is surrounded by two mountain ranges Knuckles mountain range and Hanthana mountain range, which functions as a natural shield and protect the city from the outside world. It is a well-known fact that Kandy kingdom maintained its independence during the Portuguese and Dutch administration in Sri Lanka, while the Portuguese and Dutch were able to bring entire low-country under their control.
This was a direct outcome of the inaccessibility to Kandy from low-country of Sri Lanka. Densely foliage hilly outcrop made it difficult for foreign forces to penetrate the Kandy border, furthermore, the indigenous guerrilla type army made even more difficult for foreign forces to survive the war. At last, the Portuguese and Dutch administration had given up their intention of taking control of Kandy and maintained a cordial relationship with the Kandy king.
Kandy is the logistic hub in the upcountry
Kandy is well-connected with the rest of the country and it is a transit point for most travellers since it is centrally located on the island. The city can be accessed by public transport such as trains and buses as well as private transport.
Trip to Kandy from Colombo
Local tour operators such as seerendipity tours organize daily trips to Kandy from Colombo. Al these trips include a large number of tourist attractions in Kandy and surrounding area.
If you start your trip to Kandy from Colombo and have private transport, you will need around four hours to reach the city, but this average time mentioned here varied depending on the traffic, the distance between Colombo and Kandy is 120 km.
How long it takes to drive from Colombo to Kandy?
If you start the journey to Kandy from Colombo, you can easily find two affordable options to drive to Kandy, it is none other than public buses and trains. They are as effective as any other transport method, especially on this route, and it saves tons of money against other transport modes such as the taxi. But you have to allocate a lot of time when travelling by public transport. That’s the biggest disadvantage of using public transports in Sri Lanka. If you are on a tight schedule public transport not an option for yours. Even you have plenty of time to travel it is highly recommended to hire a private vehicle in order to explore each tourist attraction in Kandy leisurely.
There are many Kandy bound trains starting from the main railway station of Colombo as shown below. Travelling by Intercity or express trains saves you a lot of time. The 1st class compartment is the most comfortable with well-cushioned seats and airconditioning.
Public transport makes you miss important tourist attractions
Pinnawala elephant orphanage is one of the important tourist attraction in Kandy that you miss if you resort to public transport. Spice garden is another such tourist attraction in Kandy that you will not be able to see if you choose public transport. You are also going to miss the tea factory as well because all these 3 places are located on the way to Kandy from Colombo. It is necessary to make a small detour in order to visit these places.
What are tourist attractions to include on the trip from Colombo to Kandy
- Pinnawala elephant orphanage-very popular tourist attraction in Kandy and included in every trip to Kandy from Colombo.
- Tooth relic temple- by far this is the most visited tourist attraction in Kandy, which is also the most popular Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. Tooth relic temple not only a religious tourist attraction in Kandy but also a UNESCO world heritage site and a popular historical tourist attraction in Kandy.
- Royal botanical garden-popular tourist attraction in Kandy and a large number of tourist are heading botanical garden every day. A trip to Kandy from Colombo is not complete if you fail to visit this tourist attraction in Kandy.
- Tea factory is considered being an optional tourist attraction in Kandy, however, most travellers visit a tea factory in order to witness the tea manufacturing process and sip an unblended cup of tea.
- Spice garden another optional tourist attraction in Kandy, where you can witness hundreds of trees and plants that can be used in producing various types of spices and herbal medicine.
If you wish to explore this fascinating city by taking part in a private tour you can book our Kandy and Nuwara Eliya 2 days tour. This program includes many other interesting places such as elephant orphanage, tea plantations, waterfalls, Seetha Amman temple and many other places in this beautiful city of Kandy.
Train timetable from Colombo main railway station to Kandy
Time 05:55:00 PODI MENIKE EXPRESS TRAIN
Time 07:00:00 A.C.INTERCITY
Time 07:00:00 INTERCITY TRAIN INTERCITY
Time 08:30:00 UDARATA MENIKE EXPRESS TRAIN
Time 10:35:00 COLOMBO COMMUTER
Time 12:40:00 EXPRESS
Time 14:20:00 INTERCITY – A.CINTERCITY
Time 14:20:00 INTERCITY – A.CINTERCITY
Time 14:20:00 COLOMBO COMMUTER
Time 15:35:00 INTERCITY – INTERCITY
Time 16:35:00 EXPRESS TRAIN
Time 17:45:00 EXPRESS TRAIN
Ticket Price from Colombo to Kandy
1st Class LKR 340.00
2nd Class LKR 190.00
3rd Class LKR 105.00
How to book train seats from Colombo to Kandy
Train tickets can be reserved in advance, but this facility is available only for selected trains. Some mobile telecom service such as Mobitel allows you to book train tickets using their mobile network. Or one can show up at the main railway station and make the necessary arrangements for the upcoming train ride. Reservation of train seats can be done by Dialing 365 from Mobitel/Etisalat Phone Lines and 1365 by SLT phones. The reservation should be done 30 days ahead of the planned journey for Intercity/AC Intercity Trains, due to high demand.
Travellers can make advance reservations by visiting the below-mentioned railway stations, 30 days prior to the journey and you need to contact the station master. More information can be obtained over the phone.
Colombo Fort Railway Station (Reservation Office) – 011-2432908
Kandy Railway Station – 081-2222271
Badulla Railway Station – 055-2222271
Anuradhapura Railway Station – 025-2222271
Vauniya Railway Station – 024-2222271
Jaffna Railway Station – 021-2222271
Website of Sri Lanka railway department – http://www.railway.gov.lk
Using public buses from Kandy to Colombo
Using public buses to go to Kandy is another effective option against expensive taxis, but it time consuming compared to train travel or travel by private transport. Kandy is the logistics hub in the mountain, therefore, Kandy can be accessed by direct buses from all major cities in the island. Getting around in Kandy by bus helps you to save money through it might demand you more time than other transport options.
Public buses available with air-conditioning but the rates of the air-conditioned buses are double the rates of buses without air-conditioning. Time taken to travel from Colombo to Kandy by public bus is around 4 hours because they make frequent stops when passengers are getting off and getting on. Busses are available 24 hours a day and leave the destination of Colombo and vice a Versa at a predefined schedule. There is a large number of buses plying between Colombo city tour and Kandy each day and at least one bus leaves each destination every 30 minutes.
What are the 6 Best Reasons to Travel to Kandy?
Due to the beautiful scenery, mild climate, colonial heritage, diverse culture, delicious cuisine, friendly and open-minded people and a lot more, hundreds of thousands of travellers drive to Kandy every year. Here are the 6-best reasons why you should never miss this fascinating mountain resort.
- A Family-Friendly Travel Destination
- Find Stunning Cascading Waterfalls And Mountains
- Don’t Fear The Sunny Weather
- Taste World-Renowned Ceylon Tea
- Satisfy Your Cravings With Delicious Food
- Opportunities For Taking Awesome Photos
What are the 14 best places to visit in Kandy?
- The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa. …
- The Natha Devala. …
- Kandyan cultural show. …
- Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. …
- Commonwealth War Cemetery. …
- Viewpoint Kandy. …
- Temple of the tooth relic museum. …
- Gadaladeniya temple
- Church of Wahakotte
- Buddhist temple Devanagala
- Ambuluwawa tower
- Udawattekele sanctuary
- Lankatilaka Temple
- Embekke temple
What are the 13 best things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka?
- Visiting historical Buddhist temples
- Visiting a royal botanical garden
- The train ride from Kandy to Ella/Nuwara Eliya
- Trekking through the Udawattekele sanctuary
- Washing elephants
- Witness Kandyan cultural show
- Visiting museums
- Trekking, hiking, mountain climbing and walking
- Visiting the tea factory and tea tasting
- visiting waterfalls
- Visiting elephant sanctuary
- City tours
What are the 6 Best places to eat in Kandy?
- Oakray Senani restaurant-Oakray restaurants serve all Asian, Western and Eastern cuisines. Also, they have a wide range of delicious food
- Royal mall Restaurant– Another popular tourist board approved restaurant in Kandy. This restaurant attracts a large number of foreign customers. It offers a wide range of Asian, Eastern and Western food varieties as well as local foods.
- Silk garden restaurant – Another popular restaurant in Kandy, which is a bit of outside of Kandy city. The restaurant is fully developed to cater to a wide range of audience, however, it serves mainly to foreign customers.
- Kandyan arts and craft restaurant– Conveniently located on the main road of Kandy-Colombo is a cosy restaurant located on the 3rd floor of Kandyan arts and crafts building. This another popular restaurant among the travellers and it is also a tourist board registered restaurant. The restaurant serves delicious Sri Lanka, Asia, European food varieties.
- Peradeniya garden restaurant- The restaurant is located within the Peradeniya botanical garden, is a perfect place to sip a cup of tea, coffee and other beverages during your hour-long walk in the garden. The restaurant is surrounded by lush green vegetation and command a breathtaking view over the nearby flat grassland. It also serves a wide range of food such as rice and curry, spaghetti, burgers, sandwiches etc. The restaurant can be visited only by visitors to the garden. The restaurant is small and can accommodate only about 2 dozens of people at a time. It means that there can be short of space during the busy time.
- Hela Bojun Hala Gannoruwa- This is the perfect spot to taste Sri Lanka food varieties. The Restaurants attracts a large number of Sri Lanka travellers. The restaurant is under the purview of the agriculture department. The traditional Sri Lankan foods are prepared by women in open kitchens. A dozen of open kitchens are in operation and females cooks are preparing delicious fresh food varieties. Only vegetarian foods are prepared at Hela Bojun Hala and most of them are not to be found in Sri Lana restaurants. Even though it provides rare authentic Sri Lanka food specialities, prices are unbelievably affordable.
Visit below 4 tourist attractions in Kandy on a one-day trip to Kandy price from USD 35 P.P
Accommodation in Kandy
It is easy to find any type of accommodation facility here. Luxurious accommodation, mid-range accommodation or cheap accommodation type such as the guest houses, you get all of them here. There is a large number of economical accommodation providers near the temple of the tooth relic, behind the lake near Mallwatte Vihara. Having accommodation near the tooth relic temple and lake makes the life easy and allows you to explore the city without travelling because the city and all major attractions are only walking distance away from you, it saves money and it saves time.
Temple of the tooth an important tourist attraction in Kandy
The temple of the tooth or better known as Dalada Maligawa is the most historical and popular tourist attraction in Kandy. Undoubtedly it is the most important Buddhist temple on the island too. Temple of the tooth is a must visited tourist attraction in Kandy, failing to make a visit to this tourist attraction in Kandy make your trip to Kandy is incomplete.
Temple of the tooth relic can be compared to Mecca in the sense of religious importance for Buddhists in the island. For tourists, it is a beautiful temple complex that showcases the typical Sinhalese architecture.
The present beautiful temple dates back to the 18th century AD and it is a classic example of the Typical Kandyan architectural construction. It is worth to have a close look at the wooden columns, reapers, doors, windows and other wooden parts with highly intricate designs and carvings.
Natha Devala – among the best places to visit in Kandy
Natha Devala is a much smaller construction against Dalada Maligawa but it has historical importance comparable to Dalada Maligawa, therefore Natha Devala is also a tourist attraction in Kandy.
It is believed this tourist attraction in Kandy originated during the reign of King Vikramabahu III (14th century). It is located on the same premises of Dalada Maligawa, opposite the octagon.
Natha Devala is dedicated to Hindu god Natha and lesser important than Dalada Maligawa. Some travellers miss this important tourist attraction in Kandy, however, it is well worth of exploring this charm, uncrowded temple. In fact, you do not need to pay any extra money to visit this temple and just a few minutes walk from the tooth relic temple.
Natha Devala comes to the fore with the beginning of Esala ceremony in the month of July/August. Natha Devala is given an important share of the annual procession of Dalada Maligawa signifying the coexistence of different religions together. The temple consists of a huge open hall and a small shrine room.
Nath devala shows many similarities to Embekke devala with main hall consisting of a large number of beautifully carved wooden columns while the shrine room is a construction of granite. Natha Devala is located just opposite of the temple of the tooth relic, near the living quarters of the monks.
Tooth relic temple museum-places to visit in Kandy
Dalada Maligawa museum is located just behind the main building of the temple of the tooth. It had been the living quarters of the queen and her retinue. Today it is used as the museum and a large number of artefacts including pottery wear, jewellery, statues, and Ola manuscripts are housed in the museum. Recently the Dalada Maligawa museum was modernized and many new features were added to the site.
Today the museum showcases artefacts, statues, paintings and article of some other Buddhist countries in the region. Different quarters of the museum is allocated to different countries and features Buddhist heritage in each country.
International Buddhist Museum Kandy
Recently added intention Buddhist museum of Kandy is located next to the tooth relic temple. This is the first Internation Buddhist museum in the world. It has a fascinating collection of artefacts, paintings, Buddha statues and various other specimens related to Buddhism. The exhibits are collected from 17 countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bhutan, and Afghanistan, which have Buddhists heritage.
The official residence of King Wimaladharmasuriya, which was converted to a Victorian Era building by the British administrators of Sri Lanka, is the venue of the museum.
Kandyan Cultural Show among the best things to see in Kandy trip
A visit to a cultural show is the best way to experience the typical Kandyan styled acrobatic dances, music, and colourful dancing costumes. School of Kandyan dancing was born here, in Kandy. It was under the influence of low country and Sabaragamuwa dancing and shows characters of other leading dancing too.
There are several places where the performance is taking place. Don’t miss out this opportunity to see the typical Kandyan dancing performance. YMBA building, Red Cross society-building and Awanhala are three leading places to witness the performance of Kandyan dancing with highly trained dancers.
Most places, where the cultural show is organized are located near the temple of the tooth relic. If you are based within the borders of the city and not far away from the temple of the tooth relic you are only walking distance from the places, where these cultural shows are organized. Most trips to Kandy include Kandyan cultural show and you will be visiting it before entering the tooth relic temple.
Places to visit in Kandy – Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Peradeniya botanical garden is the biggest and most famous botanical garden on the island, and undoubtedly one of the most popular places to visit in Kandy. It is just 10 km from the city centre. This beautiful garden spread over 147 acres and picturesquely located bordering the Mahaweli River and the park lies about 500 meters above the sea level.
Today the garden is comprised of 4,000 species of trees, herbal plants, flowering plants, palms, orchids, and spices. The root of the botanical garden goes back to the Kandyan period. It was initially used as the pleasure garden of Kandyan king; later British administrators have established the garden by collecting plants and trees not only from Sri Lanka but also from many other countries in the region.
The distance from Kandy city centre to the royal botanical garden of Peradeniya is about 10km and it takes around 30 minutes to reach the botanical garden by public buses. It takes around 15 minutes to reach the garden by taxi or tuk tuk. If you are on a trip to Kandy from western and southern Sri Lanka you can easily visit the garden before entering Kandy city.
Visiting commonwealth war cemetery on a trip to Kandy
The Commonwealth war cemetery of Kandy is one of the least visited places on the island, however, it is not coming under the important places to visit in Kandy. The cemetery is located near the centre of Kandy means that can be reached with ease. Earlier it was known as Pitakanda war cemetery.
The cemetery comprised of 1 Commonwealth burial of the First World War (1914-1918) and 196 burials of Second World War (1939-1945). Another two non-world war burials and four foreign nationals are also buried here. Reaching the commonwealth war cemetery is difficult with public transport. Because the narrow road that leads to the cemetery does not cover by the public buses. It would be a good idea to hire a Tuk Tuk from the city of Kandy to the cemetery and it would cost around 500 Rs, even the journey with taxi would not cost more than 1000 Rs.
Viewpoint Kandy-among the best places to visit in Kandy
Viewpoint Kandy is one of the highest points of Kandy city and one of the most popular places to visit in Kandy. It is recognized as one of the places to visit in Kandy because it gives you a breathtaking birds-eye view of the city. It provides a clear bird’s eye view over the entire city. The viewpoint is located some 500 meters above the city towards the western corner of Kandy.
There is no better place to enjoy a beautiful view over the temple of the tooth relic, Udawattakele sanctuary, Kandy Lake and modern bustling shopping area of the city. The viewpoint of Kandy commands a 360-degree view over the entire city. The viewpoint of Kandy gives you the opportunity to take the entire city into one snap even with a most ordinary camera. A winding road begins at YMBA is the route leads to the viewpoint and it takes about fifteen minutes to reach the destination from the city centre.
Gadaladeniya temple-Places to visit in Kandy
Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara is the Buddhist temple with the largest stone structure in Sri Lanka. This masterpiece of stone carving and stone masonry is located in Pilimatalawe in the district of Kandy. It is about 10 km from Kandy. The temple is picturesquely nestled among mountains. It is surrounded by patches of forest, paddy fields and charming villages. Gadaladeniya temple is built on a rock about 100 meters above the surrounding area. A flight of steps carved on to the rock leads to the temple, on the summit of the rock.
Gadadeniya temple completely built by granite stones
The temple houses some of the most intricating stone carvings of Sri Lanka. The artisans have been able to produce a large number of stone sculptures of Buddha, animal figures and floral designs. The temple is completely built with granite stones. The gigantic stone pillars of the temple are decorated with beautiful floral designs.
The temple shows some Hindu influence and there are some similarities to Hindu temples. This opinion can be well maintained by the installation of a Hindu temple next to Gadaladeniya.
At the entrance of the temple is a dagoba built on a slab of rock which is about 5 meters above the ground. The dagoba is sheltered with a roof, which is supported by four pillars. The image house is built under the Dagoba.
Gadaladeniya image house
The main image house of the temple accommodates several Buddha statues in meditation and standing postures. A spacious open verandah can be seen before entering the image house and it is built with large beautifully carved stone pillars. Partially gold-coloured meditating Buddha statue is placed in the middle of the house. Either side of the meditation Buddha statue is several other statues in standing posture. The main dagoba and image house is accompanied by four other image houses and dagobas.
History of Gadaladeniya temple
The history of Gadaladeniya is dating back to 1300s. According to the inscription at the site, the temple was built by a minister called Senadilankara under the patronage of Dammakeerti Thera with the instructions of King Buwanekabahu 4th.
Gadaladeniya is not merely a Buddhist temple but also a masterpiece of stone carvings and masonry of ancient artisans. This archaeological site is considered as a must visited a place on the island. The temple structure is in very good condition but the paintings and plaster of the inner walls are in very dilapidated condition.
The Bo-tree of Gadaladeniya is residing in the temple since the beginning of the temple. The tree is also sharing the same granite rock as the image houses. A protective wall is built encircling the dagoba and material used for the construction is granite. This Bo-tree is a sapling of Bo-tree at Dewram Vehera in India.
Even though Gadaladeniya is a small Buddhist temple, is comprised of all major parts of the Buddhist temple namely Dagoba, Bo-tree, image house and living quarters of monks. At present, the temple is under the purview of the archaeological department and some renovations are carried out by the archaeological department.
Places to visit in Kandy – historical church of Wahakotte
Wahakotte church is one of the important attractions in Kandy but not includes in the most trip to Kandy, because it is a little bit off the town. However, it is well-worth of inversion time to explore this beautiful historic church.
Importance of Wahakotte Church
Wahakotte is a well-known pilgrim centre, enshrining a miraculous statue of St. Anthony of Padua (Italy), is among the important places to visit in Kandy. St Anthony is a Catholic Saint, born in 1195 in Lisbon (Portugal). At the age of 15, he entered the Augustinian Order and lived like a monk. But desiring to be a missionary he later joined the Franciscan Order and went to Morocco. Due to ill health, he was forced to return to Italy, where he became a famous preacher and wonder-worker.
Miracles of St. Anthony
There are thousands of recorded miracles attributed to St. Anthony during his lifetime and also after his death. He died in Padua, on 13th of June 1231 and Catholic celebrates his ‘feast’ on that day. Even after seven centuries, his tongue is miraculously preserved at Padua for public veneration as a sacred object. Eve non-Christian acknowledge that they have received favour by invoking his help.
The hands of St. Anthony had protected the people in the area over the past 400 years through the miraculous power. In relation to St, Anthony they have ancient handwritten prayers and hymns the village, crops, exorcise and invoke divine assistance. Often the Muhuppu (the chef laymen elected by the parish council especially to lead prayers and hymns and to be responsible for parish activities) recite these prayers as a special privilege and as a sign of living under the protection of St. Anthony. There are instances that help of St. Anthony is sought in order to inflict damage to others.
The name “Wahakotte” means, according to some villagers “the castle gate” (Wasala Kotte) and the village were so-called because it protected a palace, trace of which are still visible. Some others say that “Wahakotte” means poisonous pillow (waha-poison; Kotte=pillow) as a queen had committed suicide after hearing of her husband’s death at war. There is a legend to say that in 194 BC when King Dutugemunu defeated Elara, he built a small fortress at Wahakotte.
History of Wahakotte Chuch
There are ruins of some ancient buildings on a rocky hill called Maligatenna (palace field) or Bagankotte. Wahakotte is so situated that one can observe the approaching enemy, even as far as the rocks of Dambulla towards Anuradhapura. However, there were royal connections to this village from the fact that some still pay a tax to Dahawa temple for the use of their paddy-fields. It is difficult to find out, whether they were Nindagam (belonging to aristocrats), Devalagam (belonging to the temple) or even Gabadagam (royal property). But some historical information reveals that earlier they paid tax to the royal ambassador, but later it was transferred to the temple.
Famous historian S.J, R, Rodrigo, begins his accounts on the history of Wahacotte with reference to 1582 when Rajasinghe of Sitawaka waged war against Kandy. At the time of this war, Karaliyadde Bandara fled to Trincomalee and died there of smallpox. Before his death, he became a Christian and entrusted his daughter Dona Katharina and Yamsinghe to the Portuguese. Yamsinghe too became a Christian at Goa under the name of Don Phillip. When the Kandyan began to oppose king Rajasinghe, Don Philip returned to Sri Lanka and was crowned at Wahakotte by the Portuguese.
After the death of Don Philip, Konappu Bandara seized the Kingdom of Kandy forcing Don Juan, the son of Don Philip, to flee. He fled, first to Wahakotte and via Goa to Portugal, where he became a priest. Konappu Bandara married Dona Katherina in order to consolidate his position as a king. Wahakotte was frequented by all those who had contacts with the Portuguese during this period, due to the fact that the route from Kandy to Trincomalee and Mannar was through Wahakotte.
Things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka visiting Buddhist temple of Devanagala
This historical temple is situated in Mawanella in the village of Devanagala, Sri Lanka. The site was named as Danasen pawwa, kithsen pawwa and Parana Nuwara in the past. But the present name of the site is Devanagala which is originated due to several reasons.
According to the well-known archaeologist H.C.P Bell the word Devanagala originated from two parts Dewana (second) + Gala (stone); the stone here is only second to the Batalegala when it compared to the size. The second explanation is, the site had been visited by God on his way to Alutnuwara. Therefore the site was named as the Deviyanwedi gala (the place where God had been), later the name became Devanagala.
How to go to Devanagala temple
Devanagala is located in the Sabaragamuwa province, it is surrounded by several picturesque mountains namely Urakanada, Utuwankanda, Alagalla. One can have a breathtaking view of the surrounding area from the summit of Devanagala. The area is dominated by lush green vegetation throughout the year.
The history of the temple expands over several centuries from the Anuradhapura period to the Gampola period. The history of the temple is ascertained by the artefacts discovered at the site though there is no written historical evidence about it. Stone inscriptions, dagobas, stone slabs carved with Buddha’s footprint and image houses are helpful information to discover the age of the temple.
History of Devanagala temple
The temple of Devanagala believed to be constructed during the reign of King Dhatusena and the temple was known as Dhasen pawwa. King Dhatusena lived in 5th Century A.D (Anuradhapura period) and the stone slab of Buddha’s footprint shows the characters of Anuradhapura period stone carvings. Even though there is no evidence dagoba also believed to be dating back to the same period as the footprint of Buddha.
Dagoba is located on the summit of the rock. The dagoba is constructed on a pond that collects water from the rain. The function of the pond is to lower the temperature of the immediate environment, thereby stops the damage (cracks) on the dagoba due to the high temperature. The same method is very often used by the ancient engineers in Sri Lanka for instance in the Sigiriya. There had been a water ditch with water surrounding the palace on the summit of Sigiriya to lower the high temperature.
It is believed that the temple had been given a prominent place during the Polonnaruwa period (during the reign of King Parakramabahu), due to one commander of the king’s army. The commander who lived in the village had been the commander of the regiment who invaded Burma. The forces of King Parakramabahu successfully invaded Burma under the supervision of the commander. In order to appreciate his service for the king, the commander was given control over Devanagala by the King.
The temple was given the patronage of King Wimaladharma Suriya 1 during the Kandyan period. Image house, statues and paintings of the temple show the characters of Kandyan style. It is believed that the tooth relic of Buddha had been was deposited in the temple as it was taking to Kandy.
There are three routes to reach the temple one is the via the Ayagama junction. The second route is along the Udapamunuwa road while the 3rd route is along the Katugahawatta road.
Ambuluwawa tower-Places to visit in Kandy
The Ambuluwawa tower is a very unpopular and underrated tourist attraction in Kandy. It is visible to most places in Kandy, especially when you travel on Kandy-Nuwara Eliya road, the tower is clearly visible as you come to Gampola town. In fact, most travellers are wondering what this massive tower that stands on a mountain. It is none other than the Ambuluwawa tower, which rises up to 48 meters from its base. The Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Center was built under the supervision of D.M Jayarathna, who had been one of the former prime ministers of Sri Lanka.
How to reach Ambuluwawa from Kandy
Ambuluwawa tower is nestled 5 kilometres from the Gampola city. The nearest city of Ambuluwawa tower is Gampola, which had been the capital of ancient Sri Lanka, which has very important historical value. However, Ambuluwawa tower and Gampola are not coming under important tourist attractions on the island and they are rarely visited by travellers, especially foreign travellers. However, we do like to name it as an important tourist attraction due to its unique location giving a breathtaking view of the surrounding lower elevated areas.
History of Ambuluwawa
According to the historical information, there had been a Buddhist temple in Ambuluwawa forest during the reign of King Buwanekabahu IV (13the century AD). However, there are historical monuments of the earlier temple to be found here today. The visitors of Ambuluwawa tower can see three ponds, a sacred Bodhi tree, water Park, stone Park and herbal garden on the top of the mountain.
Fauna & Flora of Ambuluwawa
Ambuluwawa is one of the highest mountains in Kandy and the mountain is under the purview of the wildlife department, a large part of the mountain is covered with forest. The Ambuluwawa forest harbours a large number of tropical trees and plants with economical and medicinal value. 200 different species of plants, trees and creepers have been discovered in the forest and there are 80 different species of flowering trees and plants Among them.
The tower is built in the form of a Buddhist Dagoba or stupa (the semicircular building to be found in Buddhist temples) and located 5km from Gampola. The main reward for the visitors of Ambuluwawa tower is the breathtaking view of the surrounding area. The amazing view commands over rice paddies, tea plantations, vegetable plots, patches of forests, mountain peaks, rivers and waterfalls as well as villages.
Ambuluwawa mountain is located 3560 meters above sea level and it is surrounded by a ring of mountains made of Pidurutalagala, Bible rock, Adams peak, knuckles mountain. On the days with a clear sky, you can see most of these mountains from the Ambuluwawa tower.
It is important to reach the tower on a day with clear sky in order to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Ambuluwawa is a place to have a very enjoyable hike if you wish to have a light adventure, however, there is a motorable road up to the highest point of Ambuluwawa mountain, giving you the convenience of reaching it without much effort.
Biodiversity of Ambuluwawa
A survey carried out by a group of students of the University of Jayawardena Pura has published below statistics pertaining to the biodiversity of Ambuluwawa. The survey was done in the months of January and February 2003.
11 mammalian species, including 01 endemic
59 avian species including 07 endemic species
30 reptilian species including 13 endemic species
13 amphibian species including 06 endemic species
13 butterfly species including 02 endemic species
The total number of species discovered at Amubuluwawa is 126 species.
Out of the above 29 endemic species, 28 are nationally threatened. Moreover, there are also two nationally threatened no-endemic species.
Places to visit in Kandy-Rain forest (Udawattakele sanctuary)
Perhaps you don’t know that Kandy is a proud owner of a rainforest. There is a patch of rain forest within the borders of Kandy, near the city centre, which is a very rare occurrence. Because most cities in the world do not have room for sanctuaries, in fact, most cities lack space for development works. However, Kandy has been able to protect this valuable natural asset over many thousands of years.
Where is Kandy forest
Just behind the Temple of the tooth is the Udawattakele forest reserve. The sanctuary adds a lot of value to Kandy city, making Kandy, the only city in the world with a rainforest within its borders. Even though the Udawattakele sits just behind one of the most visited temples on the island (Temple of the tooth), it is a haven for wild animals and inhabited by many animal species.
Kandy forest (Udawawattekele sanctuary) is one of the best places to see the rich biodiversity on the island, Udawattekele is very popular as a place, where it is possible to witness many species of birds.
Kandy forest (Udawawattekele sanctuary) is one of the best places for Bird watching on the island. Most of the resident birds in the region (Sri Lankan upcountry) can be observed here.
Most occurring birds in the Kandy forest
Brown-capped Babbler (Pellorneum fuscocapillus), Layard’s Parakeet (Psittacula calthropae), Yellow-fronted Barbet (Megalaima flavifrons) are some of the endemic bird species that can be observed here often. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) that is very rarely seen in Sri Lanka, as well as many other places where it recorded great numbers earlier, can also observe in Udawattakele forest reserve, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is also known as Three-Toed Kingfisher and Black-Backed Kingfisher in many parts of the world. There are around eighty bird species recorded in the forest including many endemic bird species.
Kandy forest, one of the best places to see primates
All main primate species in the island can be seen here: toque monkey, Purple Faced langur and Grey langur can often observe here with Indian Muntjac, Porcupine, wild boar, black napped hare, deer, palm squirrels and some other species of coveting.
History of Kandy forest
This rainforest was used by the Kandyan kings in the past. The history of Udawattakele forest reserve goes back to 2nd Century BC (Period of King Gajaba). It was the official pleasure garden of the royal family during the heyday of the Kandyan kingdom.
The pond which was used by the royal family can still be seen in the Udawattakele forest reserve. Today the forest is being visited by a large number of foreigners, and it is a place to have a trek during the trip and enjoy the beautiful nature.
Since Udawattakele forest reserve is situated in a Buddhist city, it had been used by Buddhist monks in the past. The sanctuary had been a famous forest monastery in the mountains. There had been many monks living in the forest caves. It is believed that well known Senkanda Brahmin lived in the forest in the early days of the Kandyan kingdom. Even the city was called after the Brahmin Senkadagala purawaraya (City of the Senkada).
The ancient name of the forest reserve known to be “pleasure garden in the mountains”, Udawattakele forest reserve was established in 1856 and it was upgraded to a sanctuary in 1938. Udawattakele forest reserve is one of the popular places for eco-tourism on the island, there are many tracking paths in the forest and that can be used for a relaxing wandering through the jungle. Same time Udawattakele forest reserve attracts many bird lovers from all around the world owing to the abundance of resident bird species.
Trees and plants of Kandy forest
The number of flora species estimated to be 460 with trees and lianas. Nine of the flora species in the nature reserve are endemic to the region. Udawattakele forest reserve is a forest in the wet zone and has very high humidity. Even on the ground, it is wet, resulting in the abundance of leeches.
Places to visit in Kandy-Lankathilaka Temple
Lankathilaka is another temple from the same era of Gadaladeniya temple and located about 3 km south of Gadaladeniya. The constructions of Lankatilaka temple was completed in 1344. Lankathilaka and Gadaladeniya both temples are supposed to be built by the same craftsman. The temple is constructed on a slightly elevated platform that is surrounded by a breathtaking landscape with small hills and thick vegetation. There are 2 inscriptions at the site created by King Bhuwanekabahu 4 (1341-1351) and King Vikramabahu 3 (1357-1374).
Lankathilaka temple is in a circular form and the central part of the building contains the important sacred objects. There is a statue of Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha) in the shrine alone with statues of Vishnu, Ganesh, and Vibhishana. With figures of important gods of Hinduism and Buddha statue shows the co-existence of both major religions in one place. The main reason for both religions to be practised in one place considered being the Buddhist king and Hindu queen. It is believed that the temple was consisting of a Buddha statue at the beginning.
Hindu god figures were added in a later period and they were located around the outer wall of the shrine room in the middle of the temple. With the time passed on the Hinduism became popular and more and more people started to venerate the Hindu Gods. The outer wall encircling the Hindu statues was added with the increasing popularity of Hinduism in the country. Lankathilaka Temple houses some of the best religious paintings of ancient Sri Lanka. The paintings were added in the 17th century AD.
Places to visit in Kandy-Embekke Temple
Embekke is another most visited tourist attraction in Kandy and it is a masterpiece of wood carving of ancient artisans. Embekke is situated further 2 kilometres down the road from Lankathilaka and it also dating back to 14th century AD. One major difference of Embekke against Lankatilaka temple is being the material used for the building of the temple.
The temple is completely built of wood including the roof. The temple is more like an open hall and the roof is built on Gammalu wooden pillars. Embekke had been used as the audience hall of the king during the Gampola period. Archaeologist believed that theory to be true, while this architecture mainly used during the Gampola period on the island.
The temple is dedicated to the God Kataragama and well known as Udunuwara Kataragama Devala or Devata Bandara Devala. The temple is nestled among the beautiful countryside dominated by paddy fields, patches of forests and mountains. The temple is just 7 km from the A1 main road and about 20 km from Kandy city. Embekke is one of the major attractions in the Kandyan district.
Why Embekke temple is special?
Today the temple shows some of the most valuable wood carvings of Sri Lanka. And it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the island. Therefore Embekke temple is among the important Kandy places to visit.
Wood is extensively used for the construction of the temple. Temple divided into four important parts namely Garbha, Sanctum, Dancing Halls, and drummer’s hall. The drummer’s hall is an open area with a protective roof. The roof is built on finely carved wooden pillars; these ornate pillars show some of the most exquisite wood carvings of ancient Sri Lanka. According to the historical information, some of the woodworks at the temple are from an abandoned royal palace in Gampola.
This is the ideal place to see the typical Sri Lankan designs such as mother & child, the swan, and double-headed eagle. Some of the other intricating designs include bacchanalian figure, a wrestling pair, dancers, soldiers, women in the graceful movement and floral designs. The rafters, beams, columns, brackets doorways, doors and windows all are decorated with beautiful designs.
There are 128 designs in the dancing hall, 256 floral designs, 64 lotus flower designs on the brackets. There are 30 designs on beams while the numbers of designs on crossbars are 36. The total number of designs is 514.
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