Kandy, as the name infers is Sri Lanka’s sweet, serene hill capitol and undoubtedly its spiritual nexus. A magnificent old palace now turned temple, houses a tooth relic of the Buddha himself. Tea plantations grace the city’s outskirts and breathtaking valley buildings line Kandy’s panoramic view. The almost uncountable number of temples stand in harmony with kovils, churches and mosques making this last great kingdom of Sri Lanka a multi-religious centre for the soul.
Kandy is called Maha Nuwara by locals, meaning Great City and it truly has remained great through the centuries. Hotels sport balconies with views of the lake below in the heart of the city, giving you a great view no matter where you stay. Walks across the lake early morning or at sundown combine with hill city views and the cool mountain air to create a wonderful atmosphere.
The word Kandy really does have a sweet ring to it, reminiscent of the many sweetmeats on offer in Kandy along with nourishing and delicious hill country cooking unparalleled to others around the country. That’s the thing about our tiny island – everywhere you go you find and taste something different.
Some days Kandy is covered with mist until the gentle mountain breezes part and reveal the magnificence of the hills and the valleys that make up the town. Street markets, rooftop bars and colourful cafés line the streets of Kandy that thrive harmoniously with the spiritual structures that stand dominantly around the lake and on the mountain peaks like the massive Bahirawakanda Buddha that looks over the town and guards its people.
In addition to the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy is most famous for the Esala Perahara – a parade of dancers, fire, lights and elephants that surround the streets for 10 consecutive days every July or August, depending on when the full moon occurs. Press and tourists books their viewing points months and sometimes even a year ahead considering the large numbers that come into Kandy during Perahera time.
The outskirts of the city boast waterfalls, winding country roads and all the charm an ancient mountain kingdom has on offer.