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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Must Visit Places in Kandy – Scenic Hill Capital

The capital of Sri Lanka's central hill province Kandy is an ancient Kingdom. Rich in history, tradition and culture Kandy has much to offer the culture buff and nature lover.


Ambekka Devalaya

The rustic town of Ambekka is located in Udu Nuwara of the Kandy district. Maha Nuwara being the local name for Kandy. Believed to have been constructed by King Wickremabahu III in the 14th century this temple or devalaya is dedicated to the Hindu God of Kataragama. Built at the request of the queen the temple compound comprised of the main temple, a digger and centre stage where hewisi - a name given for a band using eastern musical instruments – was played. The temple is famous for its treasure of carved wooden pillars. These exquisite creations are believed to be the finest work of engravings produced in the Kandy district. Amongst the carved objects on the pillars are those of swans, bulls, elephants, two headed eagles, women, men on horseback, soldiers, wrestlers and animals engaged in battle.


The Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth Relic of Buddha sits right in the city centre. Just 15 minutes from Cinnamon Citadel Kandy the temple which was once a royal palace faces the iconic Kandy Lake. The golden dome is visible across the city while throngs of Buddhist pilgrims from across the country grace its confines yearly. Explore the temple with the aid of a guide and you will be shown a secret underground tunnel which transported the queen and her handmaids to a bathing spot on the Kandy Lake. Tour the museum and learn about ancient history punctuated with smells of incense and lotus blossoms. The Kandy Esala Perahera is quite a famous parade that includes colourfully clad elephants walking the length of the city. Amongst these, the most elegant elephant is given the honour of carrying the precious chalice that holds the tooth relic. Also, note that the best hotels in Kandy Sri Lanka tend to get booked up during the August Perahera season and early bookings are advised.


The Knuckles Range for Nature Lovers

Located between the districts of Matale and Kandy the Knuckles Range is a stunning area that deserves some attention. Made up of a series of peaks and slopes that do resemble the knuckles of a closed fist, this mountain range is Sinhala is known as Dumbara Kanduvetiya which translates to mist laden mountain range. This is an apt name for the often mist covered mountain range is quite beautiful and harbours a changing eco-system reflective of varied environs across Sri Lanka. At the summit, you will come across cloud forests and an impressive range of flora and fauna.



This one is for the culture buffs and lovers of ancient architecture; Gadaladeniya is a must visit. The temple is resplendent with South Indian architectural styles and is believed to have been built in 1344 by King Buwanekabahu IV. The name 'Gadaladeniya' is given to references of the temple in ancient Sanskrit documents while an alternative name of Dharma Keerthi Viharaya too is used to identify the shrine. The temple compound comprises of 4 shrine rooms placed around the main stupa within which you will come across 4 smaller stupas. The main shrine room is adorned with images of Lord Buddha.


Hulu River and Waterfall

The nearest town to this river and waterfall located in the district of Kandy is the village like the town of Huluganga. The waterfall is quite beautiful and can be observed from the bridge in town that passes over Hulu River. Hulu River originates in the Knuckles Range.

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