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Kandy City

Sri Lanka's second largest city after Colombo, located in the central hills 116 km east of Colombo, 1551 ft above sea level, Kandy is a historic city of highest religious and cultural importance. The last capital of Sinhalese kings until it fell into the hands of the British in 1815, Kandy which is also known as Senkadagalapura was established by the Wickramabahu III (1357-1374 CE). Kandy remains the most sacred Buddhist site in Sri Lanka, perhaps the religious capital of Buddhism since it is the home of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa)- the most venerated Buddhist shrine in the world - and this historic sacred site was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.

At a glance

-Area : 27 km2
-Population : Approx 126,000 
-Distance : 116 km east of Colombo (3 1/2-hr drive) 
-Province : Central Province 
-Climate : Relatively wetter and cooler due to high elevation, 
-January the coldest and July the hottest, dry from December to April, rainy from May to December.

Most famous for the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), this beautiful city is gifted with scores of attractions that include Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy Lake, Aluth Maligawa, Asgiriya Maha Vihara, Malwatu Maha Vihara, four great Devales, Kandy National Museum, Rajah Tusker Hall, Royal Palace & Park, Sri Dalada Museum, Udawattekelle Bird Sanctuary and many more. You could visit all these attractions within a few hours for they are situated in close proximity. Also areas surrounding Kandy like Peradeniya, Matale, Gampola, Hunnasgiriya etc., promise many more wonderful attractions, all of which can be seen within a few days.

Getting to Kandy

You could get to Kandy by bus, train or seaplanes. Buses to Kandy (route No. 1) leave from the Colombo Central Bus Station (private and public) in Pettah and it takes about 3 1/2hours. Kandy-bound trains leave from the Fort Railway Station and it takes 2 1/2hours (inter-city express). Also you could reach Kandy aboard a seaplane that leaves from the Kelani River at Peliyagoda. (Seaplanes have to be booked).

Getting Around in Kandy

The main bus station of Kandy known as Goods Shed is located in the city centre and buses (normal and A/C intercity buses) leave from the bus station to outlying areas, suburbs of Kandy and the island's main cities such as Colombo, Galle, Anuradhpura, Trincomalee, etc. Buses to some suburban areas leave from near the Clock Tower and A/C intercity buses to Colombo leave from near the Keppetipola Rd.

In addition, taxis are available for hire while three-wheelers (Tuk Tuks) are abundant in and around the metropolis. Tuk tuks that can accommodate only three persons are suitable for short distance journeys. Self-drive cars are also available.

Dining in Kandy

The city of Kandy and its suburbs abound with hotels (from star-class hotels to normal hotels), restaurants, cafeterias and other eateries that offer typical Sri Lankan dishes as well as Western and Eastern dishes. Dining is not expensive in Kandy.

Shopping in Kandy

Being the second largest city of Sri Lanka, Kandy has scores of shops including shopping malls and complexes where could buy anything you want such as cloths, gift items, souvenirs, watches & clocks, handicrafts, electronics, antiques & furniture, gem & jewellery. Most of the shops are open till 20.00hrs and some up to midnight. Credit cards are accepted by many a shop other than boutiques and other small shops. All leading banks and ATM machines are located in and around the city.

Main Attractions

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa)

The most sacred place of Buddhist worship in Sri Lanka and perhaps the world's most sacred Buddhist shrine venerated by millions of the Buddhists all over the world, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic or Sri Dalada Maligawa is a monumental palace built in the heart of the city of Kandy to house the sacred relic of the tooth of Gautama Buddha, brought from Kalinga (Orissa) in India during the reign of Sri Meghavanna (310-28).

The sacred relic of the tooth was taken from the funeral pyre of Gautama Buddha in 483 BC. Later on, the princess Hemamali with her husband prince Danta smuggled it into Sri Lanka hidden in her hair on the instructions of her father Guhasiva during 4th century AD and it was first enshrined in Isurumuniya Temple in Anuradhapura, the first established kingdom in ancient Sri Lanka. Then it moved through a number of kingdoms across the country from time to time and at the end it was brought to Kandy by Hiripitiye

Diyawadana Rala and Devanagala Ratnalankara Thera, during the reign of King Wimaladharmasuriya I (1591-1604) who built a two-storey building to place the sacred relic of tooth. After that, it was improved by various kings who ruled the Kandyan Kingdom and the last improvement was done by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha (1798-1815) who added the octagonal Pattirippuwa and the moat. The famous Kandyan architect Devandra Mulacharin is credited with building the Pattirippuwa.

When it comes to architecture, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the Palatial Complex depict the architectural marvels of ancient Sri Lanka. The present grander edifice has been built upon a granite substructure. In addition to granite, a wide variety of materials were used for this extraordinarily rich building: limestone, marble, sculpted wood, terracotta, metal and ivory. The painted decorations vie with the sculpted decor, and include purely decorative motifs as well as different series of figures (dancers, acrobats, animals) on the beams and ceilings.

Kandy Esala Perahera (Sri Dalada Perahera) is the grandest religious and cultural event held annually by Dalada Maligawa to honour the Sacred Tooth Relic. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) together with Malwatte and Asgiriya Maha Viharas (temples) has been playing a tremendous role towards the sustenance of the world's greatest teaching- Buddhism- and Sri Lanka's Buddhist culture flourishing over 2500 years.

(The shrine is open daily for public 0530hrs- 2000hrs/Entrance per head, for SAARC/Photography allowed on permission of the Media Unit/Daily Tewawa (service) @0530hrs, 0930hrs & 1830hrs/Visitors be decently clad, unshod and heads uncovered).

Kandy Esala Perahera (Sri Dalada Perahera)

Kandy Esala Perahera also known as Dalada Perahera is a pageant held annually in the month of Esala (July) to honour the Sacred Tooth enshrined in the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa). This Perahera (procession) is the year's biggest cultural and religious event held in the ancient kingdom of Kandy.
(A detailed account on the "Kandy Esala Perahera" appears under "Festivals of Sri Lanka").

Asgiriya Maha Vihara

Lying off Wariyapola Sri Sumanga Mawatha (a street) northwest of the city centre, the Asgiriya Maha Vihara is one of the two principal Viharas (temples) in the city of Kandy and is of vital importance. Mahanayake Thera (chief prelate) is the chief incumbent of the temple and also the head monk of the Asgiriya Chapter, who administers the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Malwatte Maha Vihara

Another Vihara of the two principal Viharas in Kandy, Malwatte Maha Vihara is of vital importance. Mahanayake Thera (chief prelate) heads the Vihara and also the Malwatte Chapter. In the Vihara resides the Mahanayake Thera who administers the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

The Four Great Devales

The Four Great Devales are comprised of Natha Devale, Pattini Devale, Vishnu Devale and Kataragama Devale, all of which are located close by the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Devales are shrines or temple complexes dedicated to particular Gods who protect Buddhism, the country and its people against evils. These four devales have a longstanding association with the Royal Palace (Maha Vasala) and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa). Four Peraheras (processions) organized by each of the four devales take part in the 'Kandy Esala Perahera' that consists of Dalada Perahera and four devale peraheras.

Natha Devale

is dedicated to God Natha who is believed to be still battling to protect Buddhism from Mara and has sent gods from the heaven to the earth to protect Buddhism. The available facts bear evidence to the fact that the Natha Devale has been in existence since the time before the Sacred Tooth Relic was brought to Kandy. Located on the terrace in front of the palatial complex, built by King Vickramabahu III, the Natha Devale is therefore the oldest of the four devales dating back to the 14th century.

Vishnu Devale

alias 'Maha Devale' which is dedicated to God Vishnu is located north of the Natha Devale in the palatial complex and can be reached through a flight of carved stone steps. The God Vishnu alias 'Alut Nuwara Deiyo' is believed to be the protector or the guardian of Buddhism and the country.

Pattini Devale

is yet another devale of the four devales. Located west of the Natha Devale, the Pattini Devale is dedicated to Goddess Pattini- the Goddess of Virginity. The Goddess is believed to be the curer of infectious diseases especially of children's and also blessings of the God Pattini are invoked in times of drought and consequent famine.

Kataragama Devale

` is the shrine complex dedicated to the God Skanda alias Murugan and Kataragama Deiyo who has 6 heads and 12 hands holding weapons. Worshiped by Buddhists and Hindus alike, the God Skanda is considered the god of war. Unlike other three devales, Kataragama Devale is located a little bit away from the palatial complex. The Devale lies at Kotugodella Veediya (a street in Kandy).

Kandy National Museum

Built during the reign of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha, the building, where the museum is now housed was the royal concubines then known as "Palle Vahala". Located east of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the National Museum showcases over 5000 artifacts and objects depicting various aspects of historical and cultural events of the Kandyan period (17-19 century A.D.) including royal regalia and reminders of pre-European Sinhalese life. Among on display is also a copy of the 1815 Kandyan Convention that ceded the Kandyan Kingdom to Britain.

(The museum is open for public from Saturday to Thursday 0900hrs- 1700hrs)

Magul Maduwa (Audience Hall)

Lying in between the palatial complex and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the Magul Maduwa (audience hall) which is an open-air tall carved wooden pillared pavilion built in 1784 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha. The Magul Maduwa which served as an audience hall as well as the place where the Royal Court was convened is a place where a number of historic events took place. It was at the Magul Maduwa that the patriots such as the Madugalle Disava and the Keppettipola Disava who fought against the English for independence were sentenced to death by them. Also it was at this hall that the Kandyan Convention of 1815 was signed between the British and Kandyan Radalas on 5th March 1815 ceding the Kingdom of Kandy- the last kingdom in Sri Lanka - to the British.

Rajah Tusker Hall

In the Rajah Tusker Hall are the stuffed remains of the noble Tusker 'Rajah' who carried the casket of the Sacred Tooth Relic in the Kandy Esala Perahera for 37 years and took part in the Esala Perahera for about 50 years until his death in 1988. Rajah possessed the rare Maha Gaja Lakshana physical characteristics that put him in the aristocratic caste of Sri Lankan elephants, Chaddhantha.

Royal Palace & Park

Located next to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) overlooking the Kandy Lake, the Royal Palace of Kandy was the last royal residence of the Kingdom of Kandy. In the palace last resided King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha until he was overthrown by the British in 1815. The Royal Palace and its picturesque park built by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha add much magnificence to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Sri Dalada Museum

Sri Dalada Museum is located on the first and second floors of the Alut Maligawa, a new wing lying behind the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Dozens of various gifts offered to the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic by various devotees around the world including heads of states, are showcased in the museum.

On the first floor, a lot of historical records including letters and diary entries from the British colonial era, the 1765 Dutch Plan of the Palace Complex, and also royal costume of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha, etc., are on display while a number of historical artifacts used in the daily ritual ceremonies of the Dalada Maligawa, caskets, Buddha statues and typical Kandyan gold and silver jewellery studded with precious gemstones and many more are showcased on the second floor. Also on display are photographs, some of which reveal the damage caused to the Sri Dalada Maligawa by the terrorist attack in 1998.

(The museum is open for public from Saturday to Thursday 0900hrs- 1700hrs)

Kandy Lake

Built in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha, the last Sinhalese king of Sri Lanka, Kandy Lake that adds much beauty to the splendorous city of Kandy lies in the heart of the city beside the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa). Forced labour is said to have been used by the king for the construction of the lake and those who objected to this were ruthlessly killed.

The lake surrounded by an ornate wall of 2060 ft in length lies in a parameter of 2.1 miles and the depth of which is about 60 ft. The islet in the centre of the lake was used by the King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha as his private harem and the Royal Bathhouse was used by the king's wives and concubines as a bathhouse.

When you visit Kandy, the surrounding area of the Kandy Lake filled with cool breeze coming from the lake and nearby forests is an ideal place for you to spend a few hours walking leisurely on the shady path round the lake and enjoying the scenic views of the hills and the historic city and the most stunning view is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic lying on the backdrop. Also you could enjoy boat rides on the lake.

Pothgul Vihara

Pothgul Vihara that has been in existence for about seven decades is a Buddhist temple located in close proximity to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, perching on the foothills of the famous Udawattekelle Sanctuary, overlooking the breathtaking views of the splendid city of Kandy. The word 'Pothgula' means 'Library' in English. During the British colonial rule, the ancient library known as 'Keerthi Sri Rajasinha Pothgula' located at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic was ruined.

Hence, the then Chief Lay Custodian of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, C B Nugawela initiated to build a temple in close proximity to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Accordingly, in 1946, the temple was built and it was named as 'Keerthi Sri Rajasingha Pothgul Vihara' in memory of the ancient library. Then, to fill the void of the ancient library at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, a library was established within the temple and was filled with books of historical Buddhist literature most of them written on Ola
When you visit Kandy, this temple is worth stepping in.

(The temple is open daily for visitors)

International Buddhist Museum

It is the old Kandy Kachcheri complex built by the British over the former Palace of King Wimaladharmasuriya that has been converted to an international museum of Buddhism. Declared open in 2010 to coincide with the 2600th Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanti celebration, the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy is the world's first Buddhist museum.

The museum houses 17 sections devoted to countries that have connections with Buddhism such as China, Korea, Japan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia , Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

A large number of photographs, artifacts and other objects depicting the civilization and culture of each of the above countries are on display in the museum.
(The museum is open daily for visitors )

Udawattekelle Sanctuary

Located north of the Kandy Lake, 119 hectares in extent, Udawattekelle is a protected forest reserve designated in 1856. The forest reserve which is rich in a variety of plant species and avifauna was declared a sanctuary in 1938. This tall wet evergreen forest is a very popular site especially among local and foreign birders. The lake within the sanctuary attracts many species of birds that feed on fish.

Indian three-toed kingfisher, stork-billed kingfisher, common kingfisher, brown fish owl, forest eagle owl, wood owl, common hill mynah, Tickell's blue flycatcher, green leaf & large-billed leaf warbler, Layard's flycatcher, paradise flycatcher, brown-capped babbler, crimson-backed woodpecker, yellow fronted barbet, Layard's, black-hooded oriole, alexandrine & blossom-headed parakeets, Ceylon lorikeet and many more bird species can be spotted when walking through the forest.

(The sanctuary is open for visitors daily from 0800hrs to 1800hrs and vehicles are not permitted).

British Garrison Cemetery

The cemetery which is managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission lies in a serene tranquil location several metres east of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Opened in 1822, the British Garrison Cemetery consisting 195 graves is the resting place of British nationals who died while in then colonized Ceylon. The cemetery was closed in 1870s due to lack of space.

In the cemetery premises is also a museum where information on those buried at the cemetery and their stories is available. One of the buried is Sir John D'Oyly who was a British colonial administrator and was responsible for drafting the Kandyan Convention of 1815 which ceded the Kandyan Kingdom to the British. D'Oyly who was fluent in Sinhala died in 1824.
(The cemetery is open for visitors daily from 0800hrs to 1700hrs/Entrance ).

Kandy City Centre Commercial Shopping Complex (KCC)

Located at Dalala Veediya (a street) in the city centre, this is the largest and the most mstyle="text-align: justify;"with ultra modern features yet preserving the iconic Kandyan architecture. The shopping complex consists of scores of shops including several leading banks, a fully equipped supermarket, a variety of restaurants, an entertainment zone, a well-designed state-of the-art food court and so on.

Queen's Hotel

An iconic hotel with a history of over 160 years, the Queen's Hotel Kandy lies in the heart of the Kandy city overlooking stunning views of the historic city along with the Kandy Lake. The 78-room historic hotel of British colonial style was the residence of the former Governor of Ceylon. The hotel is a better place to watch the famous 'Kandy Esala Perahera'- a pageant held annually by the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Asgiriya International Cricket Stadium

Asgiriya stadium, the inception of which dates back to 1910, is Sri Lanka's only stadium owned by a school, Trinity College Kandy. The stadium was built under the pioneering work of Rev Alec Garden Fraser who held the office of the principal of Trinity College for 20 years (1904-1924). In 1981, the stadium was upgraded to an international cricket stadium. Since then a number of international cricket matches have been played, the first being Sri Lanka Vs Australia. Sri Lanka's first Test win at this stadium came in 1998 against Zimbabwe, 15 years after the ground hosted its first Test. The stadium, located in a picturesque setting can be reached within ten minutes from the city centre.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

South to West of Kandy

Ceylon Tea Museum

Tea was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British during their colonial rule in Sri Lanka. When it comes to tea, Sri Lanka is reputed to be the producer of the world's finest tea which is well-known as 'Ceylon Tea'. Located at Hantane 3 km south of the city of Kandy is the Ceylon Tea Museum that displays a number of artifacts depicting the history of tea in Sri Lanka. The four-floor building where the museum is housed was formerly the Hantane Tea Factory built in 1925. The first and second floors of the museum display artifacts while the rest of the floors hosts a library, an auditorium with facilities for audio visual presentations, a tea sales outlet where world's finest tea 'Ceylon tea' is available, and a restaurant.
The museum is open daily for visitors 0900hrs-1700hrs)

Hantane Mountain Range

Hantane Mountain Range consisting seven peaks the highest being 3800 ft from sea level, lies southwest of the city of Kandy. Popular among mountaineers, Hantane was declared an environmental protection area in 2010 under the National Environment Act. If you are into mountain hiking and visiting Kandy, mist-clad Hantane is ideal for you. Atop the peaks, you can see stunning scenic views of the splendorous hill capital and its suburban areas. Going with an experienced guide is advisable especially during the rainy season.

Commonwealth War Cemetery

Located on the 2nd Rajasinha Mawatha 6 km west of Kandy city close to Royal Botanic Gardens Peradeniya, the Commonwealth War Cemetery of Kandy is one of the most beautiful well-kept war cemeteries in the world. Formerly known as Pitakande Military Cemetery, it was acquired originally by the military authorities, and was subsequently taken over by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a permanent war cemetery. The cemetery that lies in a peaceful and respectful setting on the riverside, accommodate one Commonwealth burial of the World War I (1914-1918) and 196 Commonwealth burials of the World War II (1939-1945). In addition, there are 4 foreign national and 2 non-world war burials. When you travel in and around Kandy, this cemetery is worth visiting.
(The cemeteryis open daily for visitors)

Royal Botanic Gardens- Peradeniya

 

Lying beside Colombo-Kandy Road six kilometers west of the historic city of Kandy, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Peradeniya occupies a horse-shoe-shaped peninsula and the scenic splendour of the garden has been raised to greater heights by the longest river of Sri Lanka, 'Mahaweli' which flows through its fringes. This is the largest botanic gardens in Sri Lanka, spreading over an area of 147 acres (about 60 hectares) containing about 4,500 plant species.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya is home to a large variety of ornamental plants and other creepers that are used to produce special spices in Sri Lanka. There is a flourishing growth of huge tropical trees along the lawns and the orchid house is a prime attraction of this garden. This contains more than 300 varieties of exquisite orchids blooming in profusion. The medicinal plant garden sustains trees and plants used for the traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

There are numerous other attractions within the gardens frequented by visitors such as the great lawn, spice garden, palm avenues, plant house and Cacti, fernery, the lake, flower garden, flowering trees and the arboretum.
(The garden is open daily from 0730hrs to 1700hrs/Entrance @$.. per head (Café and restaurant will be open from 1000hrs to 1700hrs). Vehicles are allowed only on the permission).

University of Peradeniya

The University of Peradeniya lying in a stunningly beautiful setting beside the banks of Mahaweli River- the longest in the country- 6 km west of the city of Kandy, is the oldest and the largest university in Sri Lanka. The university was established in 1942 as University of Ceylon, under the pioneering work of Sir Ivor Jennings who was the first Vice-Chancellor of it. When he first visited the campus site in 1944 with the site plan of the architect Sir Patrick Abercrombie, he wrote: "No university in the world would have such a setting".

Gatambe Temple

The Gatambe Temple, located at Gatambe, Peradeniya close by the Colombo-Kandy Road is a popular Buddhist temple with a sacred Bo tree. Worshipped by millions of devotees annually, the temple is worth-visiting when you travel around Peradeniya, a popular town close to Kandy.
(Open daily/Entrance @$ per head/photography allowed)

Gadaladeniya Temple

The Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara (temple) is located on the Gadaladeniya Road 2 km from Pilimatalawa town 16 km west of Kandy. Built during the reign of Buvanekabahu IV (1341-1351) on a rocky outcrop and covered with small pools, Gadaladeniya Temple is a classic example for a mix of Buddhist and Hindu architecture and worship.

The path to the shrine is through a flight of steps hewn into the rock. This ancient temple features three shines built of stone, four small stupas, an image house, a devale dedicated to God Vishnu, inscriptions, an ancient Bo tree, etc.
(Open daily)

Lankatilake Temple

On the same route to Gadaladeniya Temple, Lankatilake Temple is located 4 km south of Gadaladeniya Temple. Built in 1344 AD by Senalankadhikara, the Chief Minister of King Buwanekabhahu IV, Lankatilake Temple depicts a blend of Sinhalese architecture of Polonnaruwa period and of Dravidian and Indo-Chinese features. The temple was four-storied but collapsed with time. What we see today is only the ground floor and a part of the first floor. The main entrance to the shrine is by a flight of steps hewn into the rock and guarded by two large lions standing guard facing each other. The temple features a Buddha Image, paintings of Kandyan period, rockface inscriptions etc.
(Open daily)

Embekka Devale

Embekka Devale is located a few kilometers south of Gadaladeniya Temple on the same route. It is 8 km south of Pilimatalawa town. So you could visit this 14th century shrine as well as Lankatilake Temple when you visit Gadaladeniya Temple as all these three attractions are located in close proximity.

World-renown for its woodcarvings, Embekka Devale is an ancient shrine built by the King Wickramabhahu III during the Gampola era (AD 1357-1374). Dedicated to the God Skanda, the devale is comprised of three sections viz. Sanctum of Garagha, Digge (dancing hall) and Hevisi Mandapaya (drummers hall). Impressive woodcarvings on ornate pillars of the drummers' hall catch visitors' eye. Woodcarvings can be seen on the pillars, pillar capitals, beams, rafters, doorways, and doors. Entwined swans, double-headed eagles, entwined rope designs, mother breastfeeding child, soldier fighting on horseback, female dancing figures, wrestlers, women emanating from a vein, bird with a human figure, a combination of elephant-bull and a combination of elephant-lion are the best carvings out of the total 514 carvings at Embekka Devale. Annual Perahera (procession) is held in September.

Hindagala Temple

` It is only 3.6 km from Peradeniya on the Galaha Road that runs across swaths of the University of Peradeniya. Hindagala Vihara (temple) is an ancient rock cave Buddhist temple built during the Kandyan period. The entrance is a steep narrow rock-hewn stairway and the temple is tucked into the base of a mighty rock boulder. A large recumbent image of Gautama Buddha and several standing figures are seen in the cave. In addition, a number of paintings believed to be belonging to the Sigiriya period can be seen on walls and roofs of the temple.
(Open daily)

Dawson Tower- Kadugannawa

The 200-foot tower was erected in 1832 on a cliff above the Kadugannawa Pass that lies 16 km west of Kandy, in memoriam Capt William Francis Dawson. A prominent road builder, Capt Dawson was the engineer in charge of the Colombo-Kandy Road construction project, work of which commenced in 1820 as a concept of Governor Edward Barnes during the British colonial rule. Being bitten by a venomous snake, Captain suddenly fell ill and was brought to Colombo. Unfortunately he died on 28th March 1829 in Colombo, before the road project was completed. Subsequently, a monument was raised to his memory.

Following the death of the captain, Maj Skinner under whose supervision the stretch from Warakapola to Ambanpitiya on the Colombo-Kandy Road was built and who worked closely with the captain, wrote in his diary: "I have lost a dear friend and a great officer. He died in my arms. The news of his death was received with great sorrow. He was liked by all".

Kadugannawa Rock Tunnel

A popular attraction at Kadugannawa, this tunnel is pierced through a rock. The Colombo-Kandy road runs through this rock tunnel which was built in 1880. But now, a wide road has been built avoiding the tunnel for the convenience of traffic.

Ambuluwawa Temple and Biodiversity Park- Gampola

Ambuluwawa Temple and Biodiversity Park is located at Gampola 26 km south of the Kandy city. You could reach this fine attraction in less than 30 minutes. The temple surrounded by a beautifully landscaped garden is lying atop a steep hill which is covered with evergreen forests, groves of blossomed flower plants and creepers making the mountain breezy and cool. A tower has been built atop the hill and visitors could climb up to top of it and see panoramic views of the surrounding breathtaking mountains such as Knuckles, Pidurutalagala, Sri Pada etc. In addition, Ambuluwawa features twin ponds, water parks, stone parks, herb gardens, spice gardens, orchards, an image house of Buddha, an international conference hall, a restaurant etc.
(Open daily/Entrance @$ per head/photography allowed)

East of Kandy

Degaldoruwa Temple

A Buddhist Temple most famous for its stunning paintings of Kandyan style, Degaldoruwa Temple is located at Amunugama close to Lewella just 6 km east of Kandy. Being founded by King Keerti Sri Rajasinha [1747-1782 AD,], the ancient cave temple was fully completed in 1771 AD by King Rajadhi Rajasinha during the Kandyan period. In the Vihara (temple) are many statues of Buddha; one reclining of 18 feet, 2 seating and 4 standing. Two seating Buddha statues are located either side of the cave, in between two standing statues. The cave walls are replete with Kandyan style paintings most of which depict the stories of Buddha's previous births.


(No fee is charged for entrance)

Victoria Golf Course

A golf course rated amongst the 100 most beautiful courses in the world by 'Golf Digest', the Victoria Golf course is a unique golf course located in a spectacular setting surrounded on three sides by the Victoria Reservoir, 20 km east of Kandy. The Knuckles mountain range is seen in the backdrop.

The Victoria Clubhouse offers you full dining and catering facilities and the Victoria Golf & Country Resort offers you chalet accommodation.

Hunnas Falls

125 ft in height, Hunnas Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the Elkaduwa village 22 km northeast of Kandy city. Elkaduwa which can be reached via Wattegama or Matale is a village of quaint beauty and cool climate surrounded by misty verdant mountains. Lots of travelers throng the village to enjoy this creation of nature. Tourist hotels are located close-by.

Ratna Falls

A breathtaking waterfall, Ratna Falls or "Ratna Ella" which means Falls of Gems is Sri Lanka's widest waterfall located few kilometers north of Hasalaka, a town on the Kandy-Mahiyangana Road, 70 km east Kandy. The 101-metre tall waterfall remains the tallest in the Kandy district. A creation by the Hasalaka Oya (stream) that begins from the famous Knuckles mountain range, Ratna Falls is a fine attraction you should visit.

The path to the falls is motorable only up to a certain distance and then you have to walk on the footpath that lies across a beautiful village replete with verdant paddy fields and lush vegetation together with cool breeze. The path ends at the point where you meet the stream. To reach the falls you will have to walk few more metres over the outcrops and ridges of hard rocks on the stream. These ridges are slippery, so please be careful. The plunge pool is quite deep and full of rock ridges. If you are not a well-experienced swimmer, bathing in the plunge pool is not advisable. Going alone is not recommended since the falls is deep in the jungle, far from human habitation.
(No fee is charged for entrance)

Knuckles Wilderness

Knuckles are a mountain range covered with montane forests 46 km east of Kandy close to Hunnasgiriya, a township atop hills. This very scenic forest reserve with its high cliffs and ridges is approximately 21,000 hectares in extent and is under the purview of the Forest Department.

Knuckles region is a good place to see raptors as well as forest birds. One that can be recommended for observation of birds is the road from "Loolwatta" passing "Corbett's Gap" to an ancient village of quaint beauty called "Meemure". A bungalow managed by the Forest Department and few privately owned bungalows are available for overnight stay.

Mountain hawk eagle, black eagle, crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, shahin falcon, rufus-bellied hawk eagle, crested honey buzzard, Ceylon blue magpie, Ceylon whistling thrush, Ceylon scimitar babbler, dusky blue flycatcher, Ceylon wood pigeon, Ceylon hill white eye, Ceylon grey hornbill, and yellow-fronted barbet, are some of the birds that can be spotted in the Knuckles Wilderness.


(No fee is charged for entrance)

Victoria, Randenigala and Rantambe Nature Reserve

Lying 70 km east of the Kandy city, this nature reserve is the catchment area for the Victoria, Randenigala and Rantambe reservoirs that were built to generate hydro electricity and provide water to agricultural lands. The area of 42,087 hectares enjoys protection as a sanctuary which comes under the purview of the Department of Wildlife Conservation. The forested hills and the valleys as well as the large reservoirs and rivers make this area suitable for many species of forest birds and raptors. Accommodation is available at some private hotels and Mahaveli Bungalows.

Among the birds you could watch in this sanctuary are thick-billed flowerpecker, black-headed cuckoo shrike, large cuckoo shrike, Malabar pied hornbill, Ceylon grey hornbill, orange minivet, Ceylon swallow, forest eagle owl, brown fish owl, black eagle, rufous-bellied hawk eagle, crested serpent & crested hawk eagles, black-winged kite, crested honey buzzard, Ceylon jungle fowl, Rufus woodpecker, common iora, changeable hawk eagle, green leaf & large-billed and leaf warbler.


(No fee is charged for entrance)

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