Kandy is best known for being the last kingdom of Sri Lanka, before it ultimately succumbed to the country’s last colonial intruder- the British- in 1818. The city is also home to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, one of the country’s most revered Buddhist temples. Despite this, Kandy is sadly often overlooked as a holiday destination, so here is a list of a few things you can do in Kandy.
The city of Kandy was built around the Sri Dalada Maligawa, also known as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, a relic which is believed to belong to the Buddha himself. The relic used to have a significant impact on the country’s political sphere, as it was believed that whoever possessed the relic had the right to rule. Today, the temple is found within the old palace complex and it overlooks the picturesque Kandy Lake; you can definitely see the monarchical influence on this temple, as it seems far more opulent and regal than many other temples in the country.
The Peradeniya Botanical Garden is the country’s largest and most impressive botanical garden attracting over 2 million visitors each year. The garden is well maintained, and it is exceptionally beautiful with gorgeous flowers blooming year-round. There are over 4000 species of plants within the garden ranging from palm trees, medicinal plants, a spice garden and even a bamboo forest, but the park has a world-renowned orchid collection. It is a lovely day excursion, especially if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
If you’re more adventurous, then this is the perfect activity for you. The Knuckles Mountain Range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which consists of the 34 mountains surrounded by thick jungle. Knuckles is deemed to be one of the hardest mountain ranges to hike and since the area is so large the possibility of getting lost is extremely high which is why you should enter with a guide. While you hike through Knuckles you will pass different terrains ranging from rice terraces to waterfalls and lush green jungles—undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hikes in Sri Lanka.
Fondly known as ‘the Big Buddha’, this mammoth statue of the Buddha sits atop a mountain and overlooks the whole city of Kandy. To get to the 88ft tall statue you must climb a long flight of stairs to get to the top, but the view from the top makes it totally worth it since you get a panoramic view of the whole city.
While you can do most of these activities within a day or two, it is advised that you perhaps stay a few days extra to appreciate this beautiful city even more. If you want to experience everything Kandy has to offer- without having to forego on luxury- then the newly opened Jetwing Kandy Gallery is the best place to stay. It is situated just outside Kandy town, in the idyllic village of Gurudeniya and is the perfect base for your trip to Kandy.