Kandy Sri Lanka – The Hill Capital
129 Km away from Colombo and 465 metres above sea level, is Kandy, the charming hill capital, cultural centre of the island and a World Heritage City. Nestling amidst low hills, and looped by the Mahaweli river, Sri Lanka’s largest, Kandy is still the home of the arts and crafts, music and dance and song which flourished under the patronage of the Kandyan Kings. The city was born in the 14th century and became the capital of the Kandyan kingdom in the 16th century.
It was the seat of much of Sri Lanka’s culture. The Royal City fell to the British in 1815, when the last Kandyan King, Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe was captured.
For Buddhists, Kandy is the sacred city. The focal point is the Dalada Maligawa also known as the temple of the tooth, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is enshrined. There are many shrines and temples in and around Kandy, where you will see rare paintings, frescoes, wood and stone carvings.
The highlight of the year is the Kandy Esala Perahera, when a replica of the relic casket is taken in procession accompanied by exotically costumed drummers, dancers and about 80 – 100 caparisoned elephants during ten glittering nights in July/ August.
The beautiful city, surrounded by hills and valleys, rivers, lakes and cascading waterfalls, boasts of the Royal Botanical gardens at Peradeniya .
Kandy is an exciting place for shopping with souvenirs of wood, copper, silver, brass and bronze. Ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewellery, rush and reed-ware too could be purchased. While in Kandy, an outing to a tea factory as well as a tea plantation should also be made to witness first hand, the process that leads to the creation of the famous ‘Ceylon Tea’.