City Tour of Kandy
Kandy is the country's second largest city, and is one of the top up-and-coming spots in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by beautiful nature, and home to some of the country's most sacred religious sites, it is one of the best places to explore to revel in the essence of what makes Sri Lanka what it is.
Here are some of the top spots of interest in Kandy:
Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of Tooth Relic)
Located in the royal complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of Tooth Relic is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples not only in Sri Lanka, but in the world. It house what is said to be the tooth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist faith. There are only a few other places in the world have similar tooth relics.
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Situated a short ride away from the city, Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is the largest garden in Sri Lanka, and is renowned for its diverse species of flora – over 4000 of them! These amazing grounds were once reserved for only the Kandyan royalty, but today, it welcomes visitors from all walks of life.
The garden is home to several plants, including bamboo (Chinese and Japanese), crotons, cannas, palm trees, anthuriums, rose, creepers, vines, and more. Some of the most popular areas to explore include the orchid garden, a display of a various kinds of the flower, the spice garden with plants like pepper, cardamom, cloves, and vanilla, a mammoth 1600 sq. meter wide Javan fig tree, Talipot palms, the double coconut palm (coco de mer), the cabbage patch, the cannonball avenue lined with cannonball trees, the artificial lake, and so much more!
Bahiravokanda Vihara Temple
This is another Buddhist temple of significance in Kandy. The most popular feature of this temple is the giant 88-foot concrete Buddha statue that sits at the top of the hill. Driving up and around Kandy, you'll catch a glimpse of this mammoth structure more than once, so getting up close to it is certainly a memorable experience. The walk up the hill is refreshing, and the panaromic view from the top of the city below is unlike no other!
Udawattekele Forest Reserve & Sanctuary
The Udawattakele Sanctuary was designated a forest reserve in 1856, and as a sanctuary in 1938, and is situated on a hill-ridge in Kandy. A walk through this jungle (located in the middle of the city!) full of amazing flora and fauna is a must!
Bird-watchers will be delighted by the wide array of birds (about 80 different kinds) that habituate the space, including endemic birds like the Layard's parakeet, yellow-fronted barbet, brown-capped babbler, and the Sri Lankan hanging parrot. There are also plenty of other reptiles, amphibians and mammals here. You’ll catch glimpses of wild boar, deer, porcupine, Indian flying squirrel, snakes, and plenty of mischievous monkeys!
Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium is also known as Muttiah Muralitharan International Cricket Stadium, named so after the Sri Lankan cricketing legend. If you are a fan of cricket yourself, or if you wanted to feel the passion the country has for the sport, you definitely have to catch a match at this stadium!
The Royal Palace
Visit the former royal palace of the Kandyan Kingdom to get a glimpse of how the 14th-century Sinhalese kings and queens used to live. The premises houses the King's Palace (Raja Wasala), Royal Audience Hall (Magul Maduwa), Queen's Palace (Meda Wasala), King's Harem Quarters (Palle Vahale) and Queen's Bathing Pavilion (Ulpange). The Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa) also is part of the greater palace complex.
National Museum of Kandy
Located next to the Temple of Tooth, the National Museum of Kandy is housed in a building constructed by Sri Vickrama Rajasinghe to be used as the king's quarters. The museum was later established in 1942, and today, displays over 5000 artifacts from the Kandyan era, to the post-British Colonial era. This includes, jewelry, weapons, tools, and many other things that were in use during those periods.
Known as Kiri Muhuda in Sinhala, meaning the “sea of milk”, the Kandy Lake is an artificial lake located in the heart of the windy city. It was commissioned by King Sri Wickrama, the last ruler of the Kandyan Kingdom, in 1807. It is a beautiful place to go for a quiet stroll under the shade of its many trees (some of them over 75 years old), watch the birds of the lake swim by serenely, and take in the magnificent surroundings shaped by the influence of the city's past rulers.
National Railway Museum
Located in the town of Kadugannawa in the Kandy district, the National Railway Museum was inaugurated in December 2014 as a way to commemorate 150 years of railway service in the island..The museum has exhibits of tools and equipment used since the beginning of Sri Lanka Railway, including old engines, railway cars, carriages, and locomotives.