WHAT ARE THE 17 BEST TOURIST 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
- Hantana mountain range
- Church of Wahakotte
- Buddhist temple Devanagala
- Ambuluwawa tower
- Udawattekele sanctuary
- Lankatilaka Temple
- Embekke temple
- Bogambara Cultural Park
- Visiting Tea factory
WHAT ARE THE 14 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
- Trekking in Hantana
- 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
KANDY AS A DESTINATION FOR SRI LANKA TOURS
Kandy is the capital of the central province of Sri Lanka. Kandy is popular due to its 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 every Kandy city tour. Along with the tooth relic temple, Kandy harbours a large number of tourist places and they are coming under historical places, religious sites, natural tourist attractions and Man-made tourist attractions.
In this lengthy article, we discuss the 17 best places to visit in Kandy. I intend to give you a clear idea about the tourist attraction in Kandy, the activities available for travellers in this beautiful city and how to plan a trip to Kandy.
Kandy tour is available in many variations. It can be booked as a stand-alone trip such e.g. Kandy one day tour from Colombo and Kandy 2 days tour from Colombo. On those trips, the main tourist attraction in Kandy and travellers visit many places around Kandy during the trip. On the Kandy 2 days trip, the travellers spend one night in Kandy. Kandy tour can be booked with Sri Lanka tour packages and most multi-day Sri Lanka trips such as 7 days Sri Lanka tour, 5 days Sri Lanka tour includes Kandy as a city to explore.
Kandy is one of the most popular destinations in Sri Lanka and attracts a large number of travellers every day. Due to the high demand for Kandy tours, local tour operators such as Seerendipity tours offer Kandy tours from most cities around the country. The Kandy trip can be booked from Colombo, the airport, Negombo Bentota and dozens of other cities on the island.
KANDY CITY TOUR FROM COLOMBO
Local tour operators such as Seerendipity tours organize daily Kandy tours from Colombo. Kandy tour from Colombo includes many interesting tourist attractions.
If you start your Kandy city tour from Colombo and have private transport, Your Kandy tour may last around 10 hours, but this average time mentioned here varied depending on the traffic, the distance between Colombo and Kandy is 120 km.
HISTORY OF KANDY
Kandy is a major city with high cultural diversity, which was founded in the early 13s by the Kandyan Kings. Later it was invaded by the British army and controlled the ancient capital for nearly 150 years. Over the last many centuries, the population is increased largely and it had become a cultural melting pot, due to the migration of people of many ethnicities to the city. Most of the migrants set on the banks of Kandy Lake.
WHAT TO SEE IN KANDY?
The travellers have plenty of activities to keep them busy in Kandy like strolling past temples, churches, mosques, exploring colonial buildings and visiting the oriental market. A large number of shops dotted along the main road are some of the best places in all of Sri Lanka to buy traditional handicrafts, tea spices made by traditional craftsmen. You can pick up wooden statues, hand-woven clothing, gems and jewellery as well as products like spices, and tea.
SAMPLE LOCAL FOODS IN KANDY
There are plenty of places to taste local food in Kandy. Some of the food outlets such as “Gami Kade” or village boutique in the Gannoruwa agriculture research centre, has a wide range of traditional food items. This is a project patronised by the agricultural department of Sri Lanka to popularize healthy local food items among travellers.
The restaurant is located just outside of Kandy near the Gannoruwa bridge. Food items such as Paniwalalu, Helapa, Wade, Koswade, Hoppers, fruit juice, string hoppers, Thosai, samosa and many local food varieties are available here at an affordable rate. A large number of restaurants are scattered in the central city and provide delicious local as well as foreign food. In the central market, there are many tarp-covered stalls selling clothing, electronic equipment and food like samosa, egg roll, fish roll, the fish bun that are listed under less healthy fast food.
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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 day. 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
FEW POPULAR TOUR PACKAGES TO VISIT TOURIST PLACES IN KANDY
- Sri Lanka 1 day tours
- Sri Lanka 2 days tours
- Sri Lanka 3 days tours
- Sri Lanka 4 days tours
- Sri Lanka 5 days tours
- Sri Lanka 6 days tours
- Sri Lanka 7 days tours
WHY IS THIS ARTICLE REVOLVE AROUND 16 BEST PLACES TO VISIT 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 16 places to visit in Kandy.
A large number of our readers ask 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?”, “What are the places to see on a trip to Kandy?”, all these queries are related to the Kandy city tour. Invariably they are asking for places to visit in Kandy in a Kandy city tour.
Many places listed in this blog post are included in the Kandy city tour from Colombo and beach resorts. I thought of making this descriptive note on several important places to visit in Kandy, in order to help the travellers to plan their trip to Kandy. You may not be able to cover all places in a Kandy day trip from Colombo, but you can visit at least 7 of the 16 best places mentioned in this blog post.
KANDY CITY, 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 more than anywhere else on the island. If you are a foreign traveller you must consider making a trip to Kandy because a trip to Sri Lanka is not uncompleted if you miss Kandy.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF KANDY?
Kandy is most popular for its many well-preserved historic buildings, most of them are Buddhist religious sites. Kandy is the most sacred city on the island as it hosts the Tooth relic temple. Kandy has beautiful, calm and surrounding settings. The ideal place to relax, eat, drink and experience the cultural and religious side of Sri Lankan life. You will not regret drop-into this beautiful city because it offers many interesting places to visit and things to do.
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 record 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.
KANDY LIES IN A PLATEAU SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINS
Kandy is surrounded by two mountain ranges Knuckles mountain range and the Hanthana mountain range, which functions as a natural shield and protect the city from the outside world.
It is a well-known fact that the Kandy kingdom maintained its independence during the Portuguese and Dutch administrations in Sri Lanka. While the Portuguese and Dutch were able to bring the entire low-country under their control, they failed to control Kandy.
The rocky outcrop that surrounds Kandy had been the main obstacle to these colonial armies to take control of Kandy. Densely foliage hilly outcrop made it difficult for foreign forces to penetrate the Kandy border. This was a direct outcome of the inaccessibility to Kandy from the low country of Sri Lanka.
Kings army was well versed with the jungle outcrop and launched guerilla type attacks making it difficult for foreign forces to survive. 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 all means of transport, buses, trains, helicopter, seaplanes, tax etc.
WHAT ARE THE 5 BEST SRI LANKA TRIPS WITH KANDY CITY TOUR
- One day Kandy city tour from Colombo
- 2 Days upcountry trip with Kandy city tour
- 2-day cultural triangle trip with Kandy city tour
- 3 Days cultural heritage tour with Kandy city tour
- Sri Lanka splendour tour with Kandy city tour
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO DRIVE FROM COLOMBO TO KANDY?
If you start the journey to Kandy from Colombo, you can easily find many options to drive to Kandy, taxis, public buses, trains, helicopters and the plains. However, taxi is the most popular mode of transport, trains and buses come behind them.
Buses and trains are as effective as any other transport method, especially on this route, and it saves tons of money against other transport modes such as hiring a helicopter. But you have to allocate a lot of time when travelling by public transport. That’s the biggest disadvantage of using public transport.
If you are on a tight schedule public transport is not an option for you. Even you have plenty of time to travel it is highly recommended to hire a private vehicle (taxi) in order to explore each tourist attraction in Kandy leisurely.
TRAVELLING TO KANDY BY TRAINS
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 air-conditioning.
TRAVELLING TO KANDY BY PUBLIC BUS
Public buses are 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. Buses 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.
USING A TAXI ON THE KANDY CITY TOUR
A private vehicle with a local driver/guide is the best way of travelling not only in the Kandy city tour but also any other tour package in Sri Lanka. It is economical compared to transport modes such as helicopter or inland flights. It is a bit expensive compared to public transport such as buses and trains but a private vehicle allows you to have comfort, privacy most importantly it saves time. Another important advantage of the private vehicle (car or van) is the convenience of reaching the important tourist attractions that you like to visit.
Pinnawala elephant orphanage is one of the important tourist attractions 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 not located in cities. It is necessary to have a short detour to visit these places too.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT TOURIST PLACES TO INCLUDE IN THE KANDY CITY TOUR FROM COLOMBO
- Visiting Pinnawala elephant orphanage on Kandy city tour-very popular tourist attraction in Kandy and included in every trip to Kandy from Colombo. Pinnawala elephant orphanage is located halfway down the track from Colombo to Kandy, near the city of Kegalle.
- Visiting Tooth relic temple on the Kandy city tour– 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 is a religious tourist attraction in Kandy and it is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Visiting the Royal botanical garden on the Kandy city tour-popular tourist attraction in Kandy. A large number of tourists are heading to the botanical garden every day. A trip to Kandy from Colombo is not complete if you fail to visit this tourist attraction in Kandy.
- Visiting Tea factory on Kandy trip-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 pure cup of Ceylon tea.
- Visiting spice garden-Spice garden another optional tourist attraction in Kandy, where you can witness hundreds of trees and plants that produce various types of spices and herbal medicine.
IF YOU ARE WONDERING HOW TO VISIT TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN KANDY: KANDY-NUWARA ELIYA 2 DAYS TRIP IS A GOOD OPTION FOR YOU
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 interesting places such as elephant orphanage, tea plantations, waterfalls, Sita Amman temple and many other places located in the upcountry.
TRAIN TIME TABLE TO KANDY FROM COLOMBO
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 MENIK 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 RESERVE 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 services such as Mobitel allow 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 Dialling 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
Vavuniya Railway Station – 024-2222271
Jaffna Railway Station – 021-2222271
Website of Sri Lanka railway department – http://www.railway.gov.lk
WHAT ARE THE 6 BEST PLACES TO EAT IN KANDY?
- Oakray Senani restaurant-Oakray restaurants serve all Asian, Western and Eastern cuisines.
- 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 food.
- Silk garden restaurant – Another popular restaurant in Kandy, which is a bit outside of Kandy city. The restaurant is fully developed to cater to a wide range of audience, however, it serves mainly 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 the Kandyan arts and crafts building. This is 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 is open only for 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 Lankan 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 Lankan restaurants. Even though it provides rare authentic Sri Lanka food specialities, prices are unbelievably affordable.
ACCOMMODATION IN KANDY
You might be required to spend a night or two during your Kandy city tour. As Kandy offers a large number of tourist places to visit, it is recommended to spend at least 1 night in the city and have plenty of time exploring the tourist places in Kandy. It is easy to find any type of accommodation facility in Kandy. 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 economic 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 life easy and allows you to explore the city without travelling much because all major tourist places are located near the Tooth relic temple.
TOOTH RELIC TEMPLE: IMPORTANT TOURIST ATTRACTION IN KANDY
The temple of the tooth 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 the most 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 on the island. For tourists, it is a beautiful temple complex that showcases the typical Sinhalese architecture.
The present temple dates back to the 18th century AD and it is a classic example of the Typical Kandyan architectural construction. It is worth having 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 an important 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 the Hindu god Natha and lesser important than Dalada Maligawa. Some travellers miss this important tourist attraction in Kandy, however, it is well worth exploring this charming, un-crowded temple. In fact, there are no entrance fees to visit this site. The temple is just a few minutes walk from the tooth relic temple.
Natha Devala comes to the fore every year with the beginning of the 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.
HISTORICAL MUSEUM: AMONG THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY
Tooth relic temple 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. The entrance is free for the visitors of the tooth relic temple.
INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST MUSEUM: THE LATEST TOURIST ATTRACTION IN KANDY
The recently added international Buddhist museum of Kandy is located in the building 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. Entrance fees are free of charge for the visitors of the tooth relic temple.
KANDYAN CULTURAL SHOW: ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT KANDY
A visit to a cultural show is the best way of experiencing 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 cultural shows can be witnessed. Don’t miss out on 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 away 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.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY: ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
Peradeniya botanical garden is the biggest and most famous botanical garden on the island, and undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Kandy. It is just 10 km from Kandy city centre. This beautiful garden is spread over 147 acres and is picturesquely located bordering the Mahaweli River and the park lies about 500 meters above 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 the 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 bus. 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.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY: COMMONWEALTH WAR CEMETERY
The Commonwealth war cemetery of Kandy is one of the least visited places on the island, however, it is not coming under the best 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 the 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 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 by taxi would not cost more than 1000 Rs.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY: VIEWPOINT KANDY
Viewpoint Kandy is one of the highest points of Kandy city and one of the best places to visit in Kandy. Perched high above the old city on a rocky promontory, 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 allows you to have 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 the modern bustling shopping area of the city. The viewpoint of Kandy commands a 180-degree view over the low-elevated area. This view allows you to take the entire city into one frame.
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 that leads to the viewpoint and it takes about fifteen minutes to reach the destination from the city centre.
Hantana is important to place for adventure seekers. The travellers, who like to have a memorable trek do not need to go far from Kandy to find a very different landscape and some very different trekking conditions. The Hantana mountain range sits towards the west of Kandy city and runs down towards west coast beaches.
PLACES TO VISIT IN AKNDY: GALADALADENIYA TEMPLE
Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara is a 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 onto the rock leads to the temple, on the summit of the rock.
IMPORTANCE OF GADALADENIYA AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION IN KANDY
The temple houses some of the most intricate 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.
IMAGE HOUSE, GADALADENIYA
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. A partially gold-coloured meditating Buddha statue is placed in the middle of the house. On 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
The history of Gadaladeniya is dating back to the 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 a must visited 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 the 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.V
PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY: WHAKOTTE CHURCH
Wahakotte church is one of the important attractions in Kandy but not included in 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 AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION IN KANDY
Wahakotte is a well-known pilgrim centre, enshrining a miraculous statue of St. Anthony of Padua (Italy), which 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.
MIRACLE 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 the 13th of June 1231 and Catholics 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-Christians 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 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 the help of St. Anthony is sought in order to inflict damage to others.
TOURIST ATTRACTION IN KANDY: BUDDHIST TEMPLE DEVANAGALA
This historical temple is situated in Mawanella in the village of Devanagala, Sri Lanka. The site was named 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 the Deviyanwedi gala (the place where God had been), later the name became Devanagala.
HOW TO REACH DEVANGALA 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 is believed to be constructed during the reign of King Dhatusena and the temple was known as Dhasen pawwa. King Dhatusena lived in the 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 is 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 stopping 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 taken to Kandy.
There are three routes to reach the temple one is via the Ayagama junction. The second route is along the Udapamunuwa road while the 3rd route is along the Katugahawatta road.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY: AMBULUWAWA TOWER
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 is, which is perching 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.
RAIN FOREST KANDY: AMONG THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY
Perhaps you don’t know that Kandy is a proud owner of a rainforest. There is a patch of rainforest within the borders of Kandy, near the city centre, which is a very rare occurrence.
Most cities around the world are clearing the forest in order to find room for development. However, Kandy has been able to main a healthy green cover within its border. And rainforest of Kandy is one of the most important patches of forests in Kandy.
SPOTTING 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.
SPOTTING MONKEYS AT KANDY FOREST
All main primate species on 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.
LANKATYILAKA TEMPLE: PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY
Lankathilaka is another temple from the same era as Gadaladeniya temple and is located about 3 km south of Gadaladeniya.
The construction of the Lankatilaka temple was completed in 1344. Lankathilaka and Gadaladeniya are both temples that 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 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 is 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. As time passed on 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.
EMBEKKE TEMPLE: PLACES TO VISIT IN KANDY
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 dates back to the 14th century AD. One major difference of Embekke against the 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. Archaeologists believed that theory to be true, while this architecture was 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 ONE OF THE BEST TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN KANDY?
Embekke temple shows some of the most valuable wood carvings of Sri Lanka. The ancient temple showcases intricating wood carving carried out by artisans in the early 18s. And it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples on the island. Therefore Embekke temple is among the important Kandy places to visit.
Wood is extensively used for the construction of the temple. Temple is 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 the double-headed eagle. Some of the other intricating designs include a 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.
KANDY TOURIST PLACES: BOGAMBARA CULTURAL PARK
One of the oldest and biggest prisons of Sri Lanka “Bogambara prison” is set on the plateau of Kandy, surrounded by mountains and tea plantations, botanical gardens and patches of forests, giving it a beautiful surrounding. The former inmates include popular political figures such as Dr Colvin R. de Silva and Philip Gunawardene, N.M.Perera. One of the most notorious criminals of Sri Lanka “Sura Saradiel” was also hanged in Bogambara prison. The prison was rehabilitated and converted to a tourist attraction and named Bogambara Cultural Park.
KANDY VISITING PLACES: THE TEA FACTORY AND PLANTATION
Kandy is not just a place to see historical and cultural tourist attractions, Kandy is also a perfect spot to learn about the country’s tea industry. Tea is one of the most important products of Sri Lanka, and millions of kilograms of tea produced in Sri Lanka is exported all around the globe. Tea was introduced to the Sri Lankan soil in the early 18s when the fungus disease destroyed the coffee plantations. Fertile soil, cool clime and plenty of rain made Sri Lanka’s hill country a perfect place to grow Tea and it was not long before Ceylon – Sri Lanka’s former name – became synonymous with high-quality tea.
Venturing on a tea factory tour is highly recommended for any aficionado of the heady brew, and Kandy offers a few of them, just a few kilometres down the Colombo-Kandy main road, in the direction of Colombo near Mawanella. Giragama tea factory tour is a guided trip that introduces you to the vario9us stages of the tea manufacturing process, from tea plucking, sorting to fermentation and cleaning. Well stocked tea shop invites you to sample a cup of pure Ceylon tea in favour of your visit to the tea factory.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH SEERENDIPITY TO SEE TOURIST PLACES IN KANDY?
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