Kandy is very famous among tourist for many reasons. It is home to the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic called Dalada Maligawa ), The Botanical Gardens ( Located in Peradeniya) and it always has a special place when it comes to festivities such as the Esala Perahara(annual pageant).
If you are traveling on Asia in these months (july to sep), you have great chace to watch the biggest Buddhist celebrations of the year, the annual Kandy Perahera (Esala Perahera) In Srilanka. ti is a religious ceremony during which devotees pray for sufficient rains to bless the country and crop cultivation. One of Buddhism’s most sacred relics, the Sacred Tooth is taken from the Temple the Tooth and paraded through the streets as part of the Kandy Perahera (annual pageant).. Following this, more festive events take centre stage and visitors can expect to see a lively cast of dancers, jugglers and fire-breathers milling amongst the crowds
When to see Esala Perahera ?
Kandy Perahera Commences on Esala Full Moon or “Poya” Day on the month of July and concludes on Nikini Full Moon Poya Day on the month of August
Held in July or August according to the dates of the full moon, Esala Perahera has become a symbol of Sri Lanka . It is very grand with months of elaborate preparation, elegant costumes, well choreographed demonstrations of talent from various artistes and of course the sage procession of well trained elephants. There are fire-dances, whip-dancers, Kandyan dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments and beautiful lights. The Kandy Perahera festival ends with a traditional ‘diya-kepeema’ ritual.
Significance of Esala Perahera
The significance of this great event is to invoke blessings of the deities to ensure the farmers rain to cultivate their crops. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the city streets which is done with great ceremony.
The tooth relic was brought to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the year 310 AD and the first Esala Perahera (Kandy Perahera) was performed in Anuradhapura, the first capital where the sacred relic was housed.
Even as the capital was shifted for strategic reasons due to invasions, the Sacred Tooth Relic went with it too and was much revered and always held in the custody of the king. Finally finding a permanent resting place in the hill capital of the last Sinhalese kingdom, Kandy, the Sacred Tooth lies in the “Dalada Maligawa” (Palace of the Tooth Relic) which was built by king Wimaladharma suriya in the 16th century. This three-storey building erected solely for the purpose of housing the Sacred Relic still stands and is the most – visited and significant temple of Sri Lanka.
Kandy Perahera: the History
The ritual of the Kandy Perahera continues in Kandy with more and more people attending each year to watch a majestic tusker proudly parade the streets of this ancient Sinhalese kingdom, followed by over more than a hundred elephants in Kandy Perahera with the custodians and other officials dressed in the traditional Sinhalese attire of chieftains riding them. The sound of blowing conch shells and whip cracking starts off the excitement or the approaching Kandy Perahera. The beating of at least three types of traditional drums, the colorful Kandyan dancers, acrobats, and other artists that perform in the Kandy Perahera and the light of flame torches certainly would take you back in time.
History of Esala Perahera in Kandy
The Esala perahera in Kandy, we see today, dates back to the reign of Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1780). It is a combination of the Dalada perahera, and the four Devale peraheras dedicated to the guardian deities of the island
Earlier, the Esala perahera was conducted exclusively to appease the divinities, and patronized by the Malabari kings of South India, who ruled the Kandyan provinces. They were Hindus. The month of Esala is reminiscent of ‘Esala Dev-keliya’ (Play of the Gods).
Kandy, the last royal capital of Sri Lanka is a major tourist destination. ( 115km from Colombo at 465 meters above sea level). Famous for the Temple of the Tooth and many other temples the city could be called the cultural capital of the island.
Kandy Perahera, the pageant of the temple of tooth where Buddha’s tooth is kept is held either in July or August each year to parade the golden caskets is a must see itenary if one is visiting Sri Lanka during these months. The final night procession is the most spectacular event of the country. More than 50 elephants parade the city accompanied by the drummers, dancers and chieftains.
The city established in the 15th century was the last royal capital where 2500 years of royal rule ended. This bustling market town is rich in cultural diversity has plenty of iteneries to offer to the tourists from songs dances and handy crafts to ancient temples and adventure activities. Kandy is a good transit point to the cultural triangle to the north or hill country to the south. The city is also a good source of souvenirs or to experience many cultural performances at it’s various hotels in the city.
Reasons to visit Kandy
1. The climate
Because you’re in the hills, you get some pretty sweet relief from the constant humidity of Colombo. While you’re still likely to experience some mugginess during the day, Kandy has crisp mornings, and refreshing breezes in the afternoon. In the late afternoons and evenings, you may actually need a light jumper.
2. Kandy Lake
Situated in the centre of town lies Kandy Lake, an artificial lake constructed in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. A stroll around the lake is a pretty nice way to while away an afternoon; a lap of the lake is just over three kilometres, so should take most wanderers around half an hour. There are plenty of benches along the path, if you need a rest.
3. The snacks
What’s the perfect accompaniment to a stroll around Kandy Lake? A snack (or four). A local favourite is a bag of chilli salt mango or pineapple, which you can pick up from vendors around the lake. Trust us, it’s delicious. Stroll a little further afield to a local bakery, filled with a variety of curry-stuffed buns, rolls and breads (and plenty of sweet treats too). Kandy is also filled with Sri Lankan favourites, like kottu roti, treacle-soaked undu walalu, and hot fried tapioca root.
4. The landscape
Forested hills, colourful houses, morning mists clinging to the trees, impossibly beautiful views… What’s not to love? The city is small enough to explore on foot, but if your feet need a break, wave down a tuk tuk to get you around.
5. The temple
Set on the edge of Kandy Lake, Maligawa Temple – more commonly known as the Temple of the Tooth – houses the relic of one of Buddha’s teeth. Legend has it that the tooth was stolen from Buddha’s funeral pyre in India and, years later, smuggled into Sri Lanka inside a princess’s hairdo. Keep in mind you can’t actually see the tooth – it’s locked inside a box and held behind glass – but the temple itself is an interesting place to visit.
A short tuk tuk ride out of Kandy, the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens is a lovely spot for a walk and some quiet time. Once reserved exclusively for royalty, the gardens are the largest in Sri Lanka, and are home to coconut palms, a fragrant spice garden, orchids and bamboo groves. Spend a few hours exploring (or sitting in the shade with a book), then head back to Kandy for some rice and curry and a refreshing Lion beer.
Hotels around in Kandy
Recommended Hotels In Kandy
1. Queen's Hotel kandy
The Queen’s Hotel is considered today as a historic building to be conserved and held for all time as a part of the history of Sri Lanka’s Central Province.
The Queen’s was originally a Governors Mansion with a small structure of buildings constructed to house troops. This was later to become the main complex of the Ceylon Riffle Regiment.
Today the Queen’s Hotel which is one of Kandy’s prime properties set on an extent of 217.5 perches of land is one of the finest and grandest architectural buildings of its kind in Kandy, along with its 54 spacious rooms, and emphasis on its superb outlets the Queen’s Hotel boasts of the King Narendrasinghe Hall (Mini Ball Room), the Queen of Hearts
restaurant, the Lord Mountbatten Lounge Bar, Royal Ball Room and The Pub Royal, the latter being the only British Pub in the city that offers service with true colonial flavour.
What’s significant about Queen’s Hotel is, its location both in the city and in Splendid surroundings alongside the Kandy Lake, and the world renowned“Temple of the Tooth Relic of the Buddha”. Every country has its pageants and festivals and so does Kandy which has the world famous “Kandy Esala Perahera Pageant” which is held annually. This pageant proceeds along side the Queen’s Hotel’s East & West wings, providing the most magnificent viewing facilities for the guests who are patronizing the hotel.
From its inception as the Queen’s in 1895, the hotel has been a magnet to visitors. Henry Cave, in his book “Picturesque Ceylon – Kandy & Peradeniya”. (Published in London in 1894) ”Not a week passes without scores of fresh visitors from every part of the world visiting this historical town. They come here to the home of the latter Singhalese kings, the famous strong hold that was the last part of Ceylon to have fallen into thehands of the British. The lovely setting of the city; the most beautiful walks in the tropics, and the magnificent botanical gardens of Peradeniya”
Our rooms face the Lake, The Temple of the Tooth Relic of the Buddha; overlooking our Pool and scenic mountains. The Queen’s has 54 rooms. All rooms have attached bathrooms with hot and cold water.
For a truly genuine colonial style pub in Kandy “The Pub Royal” serves alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages including snacks. The “Queen of Hearts” Restaurant for al a carte breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Accommodation of Queen's Hotel, Kandy
- Room AmenitiesAir Conditioned
- Hot & Cold water
- Spacious Room
- Mini Bar
- Private Balconies
- Laundry facilities
- Taxi service
- See more services
2.Earl’s Regency – Kandy
The crown jewel of the Kandyan Kingdom.The grandeur of an ancient Citadel adorned with contemporary 5-star luxury. A landmark of impeccable taste and unique style where one can unwind and relax while experiencing all this world has to offer.
Accommodation of Queen's Hotel, Kandy
- Fully air-conditioned and elegantly designed
- Private balcony with a view of the mountains and the Mahaweli river
- Telephone with IDD facility and voicemail
- Personal bar
- Piped music
- Television with MATV facility
- Personal safe
- Bathroom phone
- View more
3. Amaya Hills, Kandy
Amaya Hills (formerly known as Le Kandyan Hotel) rightly claims to be among the elite of Sri Lanka’s hotels. It lies on a rocky outcrop, 15 minutes drive above the hill-country capital of Kandy, in tranquil, wooded surroundings and is blessed with a panoramic view of the city and its surrounding hills.
Accommodation of Amaya Hills – Kandy
Accommodation consists of 100 a/c rooms with balcony or terrace, 24-hour room service, IDD phone, radio, TV on request, attached bathroom with bath,shower and w.c.
Restaurants in Amaya Hills Kandy
The main restaurant serves Sri Lankan and international cuisine. Three bars, one with terrace, Le Garage nightclub at weekends, tea lounge with a huge selection of specialist Sri Lankan teas, karaoke and jazz lounge in a cave setting.
Pool with a view. At the meeting point of the resort’s three wings, the swimming pool area allows guests to go for an invigorating swim or lounge in the open air with a stunning outlook on the valley and distant hills.
The billiards hall delights fans of both pool and cricket. Autographs from numerous international cricket teams don cricket bats around the room. As Amaya Hills is a favourite spot for visiting cricket teams, you may even have a chance to enjoy a round of billiards with some of the players in person.
4.Kandy City Hotel, Kandy
Nestled in the hill capital of Sri Lanka, the city of Kandy, Kandy City Hotel offers the utmost central location at the heart of the city with very convenience access to famous attractions such as the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, Ambakke Devalaya and scenic locations such as Kandy Lake etc. with a 3 minutes walk.
Kandy City Hotel promotes the city style living with modern day luxuries added to comfort a stay.
- Hotel operate 23 rooms located on 02 floors inclusive of 3 Deluxe rooms with private balcony along with an Authentic Chinese-Vietnamese Fine Dining restaurant on the first floor
- Free Wi Fi
- IDD Telephones
- TV with Satellite Channels
- Free toiletries
- Private Balcony (Deluxe rooms only)
- Unlimited tea/coffee in room
- Read more..
5. Ozo, Kandy
Cosy rooms inspired by Sri Lankan charm. Stunning views over the mist-covered mountains. Modern technology you can’t do without while traveling. Sublime beds that’ll give you sleep so deep, you’ll be waking up before the alarm goes off with ease.
Start your day right with EAT2GO Breakfast Boost, enjoy local flavours and international favourites, or unwind at rooftop lounge BOMU with a drink, snack and a side of fresh mountain breeze.
Where hill country meets heritage city, we offer easy access and easy escape. Even our facilities are designed to help you kick back and relax. Just minutes from the renowned Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) along with other historical sites nearby and a two hour’s drive from Bandaranaike International Airport, we’re your home away from home in Kandy.
You set the pace and we follow. Sleep in, stay up, or head out – you’ll always be rested, refreshed and ready for the day (or maybe another snooze!). And that’s perfectly fine. We love a sweet slumber and we know you do too.
- A UNESCO World Heritage City set between mist-covered hills and tropical tea plantations, OZO Kandy is your sanctuary in this ancient land of kings, indulge in divine discoveries by day and divine sleep by night.
- A 2-hour drive from Bandaranaike International Airport and just a few minutes from the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic), Kandy’s popular attractions are nearby while the city-centre is just 10 minutes away.
- Read more..
Flavours in Kandy
Ranweli Spice Garden
Sri Lanka is known all over the world for its rare spices and herbs. In fact to spice lovers, Sri Lankan spices mean an expression of a colourful history and delightful surprise, just like the country. New Ranweli spice and herbal garden is located in the Hill Capital, in close proximity to Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya
A visitor who steps into the New Ranweli Spice and Herbal Garden will get the experience of seeing how spices and herbs like Turmeric, Pepper Corns, Cloves, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Cocoa, etc. are grown in their natural environment. The Renowned specialty of the garden is that one can learn about the spices and natural products, while being in a serene, healthy and pollution free environment. In other words, one can taste lush serenity which is free from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Sri Lanka holds its pride for gifting the most beautiful mountain which no doubt captivates one’s eyes. Alagalla is one such significant mountain peak of Sri Lanka, located in Kegalle district as a scenic background of Mawenella town and 1200 meters above sea level and about 1km in length.
When you drive through Mawanella, along Colombo-Kandy road, on your right side the beautiful mountain could be viewed. The mountain also has a touch of history where the Sinhalese kings used this peak to execute the political opponents and criminals. The peak can be reached by a mysterious climb through the Ihalakotte Village crossing hill country railway. Moreover, the mountain is an emerging site for community based ecotourism and the tourists will be takes care of by the local community in Ihalakotte.
Highway Museum Kandy
Just 5km away from Kandy along the Kandy-Colombo road, there is a unique collection of green and red painted steamrollers, ancient road building equipment and old road signs in an open air museum by the rail. The highway museum displays the original equipment used to lay the colombo-kandy road. Next to the museum one can view a replica of the 300 years old Bogoda Bridge.
International Buddhist Museum
International Buddhist Museum opened in commemoration of the 2600 years of Sambudhdha Jayanthi (years since the Buddhism was first established) by Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of Tooth Relic). It showcases the history of Buddhism and its expansion throughout the Asia and rest of the world. Open from 9am to 8pm, this is a great place to study history and a variety of Buddhist traditions and rituals.
Commonwealth War Cemetery
Maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, this small melancholic but beautiful cemetery is the resting place of many who died defending Sri Lanka during the WWII. Maintained to the highest standards, the encrypted wall at the back of the cemetery provides details about those who rest in peace here.
Kandy Garrison Cemetery
Kandy Garrison Cemetery is yet another brief visit you can pay especially if you happened to be near the National Museum. Walk little up along the hill and you can see 163 graves which run up to colonial age. Many who are buried here are young and had died due to Sunstroke, Elephant attack and jungle fever.
Built next to Sri Dalada Maligawa, by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha in 1807, Kandy Lake is considered as the bathing place of the queens and the ladies of the court. Little island in the middle of the lake which is decorated with palm trees and bamboo thickets, enhances the beauty of the lake. Visitors can enjoy boat rides from the “Joy Boat” service and, also a relaxing walk around the lake connecting many historic places in Kandy, such as the Malwatta Temple. Kandy Lake also is a sanctuary for birds such as Diya Kawa (Indian Cormorant), Karawala Koka (Pelican).
Kandy View Point
Kandy View Point accessed via Rajapihilla Mawatha, a road parallel to Kandy Lake round road which goes over a steep climb and connects back to Lake round road. Due to its high ground, you can see the whole Kandy city in a panoramic view. Colourful view especially in the evening. There are also nice set of restaurants around Kandy view point, and souvenir shops.
Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Opened in 27th November 2009, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium is the 104th international test cricket venue in the world. Located from half-hour drive from the city of Kandy, the stadium so far has hosted 2 international world cup cricket tournaments in 2011 and in 2013.
Surrounded by mountains in the ancient hill capital of Kandy, stands the home ground of Trinity College Kandy (a elite private boys school) the Asgiriya International Cricket Stadium. In 1910, a sheer cliff face was transformed into the present beautiful stadium under the guidance of Mr. Fraser, the brainchild behind this project. And after 5 years of work on January 15th, 1915 the new ground and pavilion was opened.
After Sri Lanka was granted test cricket status in 1982, the former chairman of Sri Lankan cricket board, Gamini Dissanayake decided to upgrade Trinity’s home ground to international status and renovated the ground and it was formally opened by Mr. J.R. Jayawardane. The first test cricket match played at Asgiriya was against the Australian cricket team in 1982. The stadium has also hosted a world cup match in 1996. And in total 22 test matches have been played at Asgiriya out of which 7 has been won by Sri Lanka. The last test match played was against the English cricket team in 2007. One of the most picturesque stadium in Asia and loved by many cricketers around the world Asgiriya stadium is a mandatory stop on any Sri Lankan tour.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
Situated on a hill ridge in the heart of Kandy with a royal touch stretching between the Temple of the Tooth and the uplands Aruppola suburbs is the Udawatta kele sanctuary. Famous for its avifauna and floral species, the sanctuary contains several Buddhist monasteries, medieval rock shelter dwellings for Buddhist monk hermits and also a shady lover’s walk. One unique attraction of the sanctuary is the 200-300 year old giant liana.
A must visit place for bird lovers since the sanctuary is the home for about 80 different species of birds of which some are endemic species. The visitor’s entrance is located on the western side of the forest about 15-20 minutes walking from the Temple of the Tooth. A great place to relive stress and escape into tranquillity. Do not miss the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature in the city.
Tea Museum Hantane (kandy)
The Ceylon tea museum at Hantane, 3 kilometres from Kandy city is an essential stop on any Sri Lankan tea tour. With adequate parking space for visitors the museum consists of four floors. The ground and second floors exhibit very old machinery and the first floor consists of a library and an auditorium with facilities for audio visual presentation. The 3rd floor has stalls selling Sri Lanka’s fine tea. And the entire top floor is a restaurant and also provides a panoramic view of the Kandy town surrounded by the knuckles range and the Matale hills through a mounted telescope.
The museum is open all days from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. except on Mondays, Public and Mercantile holidays and half day on Sundays. The tickets are priced at Rs.250/= per foreigner. A perfect place to experience the history and the taste of tea.
Royal Palace of Kandy
Acclaimed by UNESCO as a heritage city, Kandy has a great historical value. And on a visit to this beautiful city, one should make a mandatory stop at the Royal Palace of Kandy. The last royal residence of the Kandyan kingdom and the last king to reside in it was King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha until he was overthrown by the British in 1815. Once part of a large palace complex, at present only the front entrance of the palace remains. And the building known as the “Palle Vahala” houses part of the Kandy National Museum.
Due to an old tradition, the protector of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is the ruler of the land. So the Temple of Tooth was built in close proximity to the Royal Palace. Hence a visitor can visit the Temple of Tooth too on his visit to Royal Palace.
National Museum, Kandy
The national museum of Kandy is located next to the Temple of Tooth. The primary exhibits are housed in the “Palle Vahala” of the Royal Palace. A secondary exhibit is showcased in the main palace building. Extensive artefact collection consisting of jewellery, costume, art & tools from both Kandyan kingdom and the British colonial rule can be found here. A place not to be missed to enjoy the historical value of the Kandy.
Apart from those mentioned above there are many exciting and unique places that is worth visiting around Kandy during your stay there at Esala Perahera.
These are some of those mystic places.
1. KNUCKLES MOUNTAIN RANGE
2. HULU RIVER AND WATERFALL
3. DUNUMADALAWA FOREST RESERVE
4. MUTUKELINA WEWA AND THE OBSERVATION POINT
6. HANTHANA MOUNTAIN RANGE
7. VICTORIA GOLF CLUB, DIGANA