As you enter Kandy city a huge white statue of Buddha sitting in the middle of lush green forests welcomes you to the city. Kandy is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka and was the ancient capital of the kingdom that ruled the city. The city has a holistic charm and houses some of the best temples including the temple of sacred tooth. It has a serene landscape which includes the beautiful temples, lake, museums and more. Browse through our list to find some best places to visit and things to do in Kandy.
1) Visit the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic
One of the most important tourists destinations in Sri Lanka is the Sacred Temple of Tooth. This temple is also addressed as the Sri Dalada Maligawa. It is one of the most visited World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka. This temple is located within the Royal Palace complex of the ancient kingdom of Kandy. It is one of the most important shrines in Sri Lanka as it houses the Sacred Tooth of Lord Buddha himself. Prayers and rituals are performed three times a day in the morning, noon and evening.
Every Wednesday the sacred tooth relic is given a holy bath with fragrant water. People believe this holy water has healing powers. During this ritual the room is open for public and the holy water is distributed among the devotees. The architecture of the temple is inspired by the Canadian architecture. The royal complex also encompasses temples, museums and the Kandy Lake. During the annual Kandy Esala Perahera, they parade the tooth around the city. 65 decorated elephants follow the parade.
2) Walk Along the Kandy Lake and Local Bazaar
Kandy lake located in the center of the town is a man made lake built in 1807. It was built by Wickrama Rajasinghe, the last king of Kandy. This lake is located within the palace complex and right beside the Temple of Tooth. There are several stories and legends connected with this lake. Some say that the King built a secret tunnel from the island to the palace. This lake is also one of the most visited places in Kandy. This place is perfect for a stroll and it also gives a picturesque view of the palace complex.
The Main Market in Kandy is the best place to find some fresh fruits, vegetables and also Sri Lankan spices. The streets are always bustling with people moving from one store to the other. There are also several store where you can shop for amazing handicrafts and paintings. You can find numerous eateries and local restaurants that serve some delicious Sri Lankan food.
3) Visit the Tea Plantation & Factory
The city of Kandy has some of the best tea estates and plantations in the country. To this day Sri Lanka remains one of the most important tea exporter in the world. Explore the tea estates and the factories and get a closer look at the beauty of these plantations. The view of the surrounding tea covered mountains are breathtaking. Giragama Tea Plantation is the perfect place to begin your exploration. You can learn more about different types of tea like the green tea, earl grey, black tea.
Visitors also get to taste of the different products that are available here. Also visit the Ceylon tea museum located within the Hantana Tea Factory on the Hantana Road. You can find a lot of vintage exhibits related to tea processing and shops that sell tea products.
4) Learn About Spices at a Spice Garden
Spices and herbs gardens are great places to visit in Kandy. They are one of the key attractions in Sri Lanka. You can explore and learn about rare collection of spices and rare herbs. Turmeric, peppercorn, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon cocoa, aloe vera are some of the common ones . Some of these herbs are also used to make natural medicines and oils. The guides will take you through the garden while educating you about each of these spices in depth.
Exploring this calm and serene garden is a great way to appreciate the natural beauty of the country. New Ranweli Spice Garden is the one to look for when in Kandy.
5) Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden
Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden is one of the largest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. It is located near the Mahaweli River(the longest river in Sri Lanka).Peradeniya is 5.5 km to the west of Kandy city. The garden has more than 4000 species of plants, medicinal herbs and palm trees. The main highlights of this place are the rare collection of orchids, stretch of royal palm trees,the cannonball fruit tree and the 40 m high Burma Bamboo. National Herbarium of Sri Lanka is also located within this national park. It is a great place to explore the beautiful flora and fauna from all around Sri Lanka.
6) Amazing Kandy View from the Big Buddha
The enchanting statue of the Buddha also known as Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue is one of the top 5 must visit sites in Kandy. Located on a hilltop this giant Buddha statue is one of the most visited places in Sri Lanka. It is located near the Kandy Lake and the view from the statue of the surrounding landscape is breathtaking. Tourists can climb up the hill or take a vehicle to reach the statue. Once on the peak you will get a mesmerising panoramic view of the entire city including the Kandy Lake. The view of the city is particularly beautiful at night. Pray along with the devotees and enjoy a spiritual day at this holy place.
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7) Watch the Traditional Kandy Dance
Kandyan culture show gives us a glimpse into the rich culture and traditions of Sri Lanka. The famous Kandyan dance is traditionally performed only by male dancers. The inspiration for the dance form is partly derived from South India. These dance forms are performed to percussion . The main drum used is called the Geta Beraya. Kandyan dance show is a great way to spend the evening. Learn more about the culture of Sri Lanka. The best performance happens during the annual Kandy Perahera procession in the city of Kandy.
8) Walk in Udawattakele Forest Reserve
Udawattakele Forest Reserve is located in the heart of Kandy. The sanctuary is covered in dense forest and has a beautiful pond in the middle of the forest. Previously reserved for the royal family this sanctuary is now open for public. This reserve located right in the middle of the city is home to exquisite flora and fauna. It is one of the best places to explore the nature. Visitors can go on bird watching tour, a guided trek through the forest or just take a stroll around the forest.
9) Visit Kandy Museums
Museums are a great place to get to know a culture more. There are several museums in Kandy. These museums tell amazing stories about the historical background of Sri Lanka. National Museum in Kandy is one such place . Here you can learn more about the history from the rare collections of books and scriptures . The other prominent museums in the city are the Dalada Maligawa Museum and the World Buddhism Museum.
Dalada Maligawa Museum is located right behind the Temple of Tooth. Most important part of the shrine is with bronze Sitting Buddha Statue. Another great place to visit is the World Buddhism Museum. It exhibits photographs, models and illustrations depicting the Buddhist culture.
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10) Explore Local Food in Kandy
The best way to know about the culture of a place is through its food. Kandy, the cultural hub of Sri Lanka offers some excellent dining option. From coconut curry to seafood, you can find variety of options. Kandy Muslim Hotel is one popular place that you must visit. It offers some of the best samosas that you can find in Kandy. The must try dish at this place is Kothu (rotti chopped and fried with meat and vegetables). Some of the other options to check out are the Empire Cafe, Cool Corner Ice Cream Parlor, Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar, Licensed to Grill.