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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must Visit Places in Kandy, Sri Lanka -Memories of a Great Kingdom

The last capital of the last generation of Sri Lankan kings, Kandy still stands strong and proud with the relics of its golden days. When in the 'Cultural capital of Sri Lanka', here is what to see;


Temple of the Sacred Tooth

The mere mention of Kandy brings into mind this magnificent edifice as the temple is the heart and soul of the city. It's such a landmark of an attraction that almost every single hotel in Kandy includes the temple among their list of excursions. So why so important you ask? Located within the royal palace complex of the Kandyan kingdom, the temple is said to house the sacred tooth of the Lord Gautama Buddha. Some of the highlights of the complex include the royal palace, a moat, a unique feature called the Pattirippuwa (Octagon); a golden canopy and the compound where the tooth is placed, encased within a jewel-encrusted gold casket.
One of the most important things to note about the temple is its stunning architecture and the elaborate paintings. The Kandyan style of art and architecture is one of the most cherished in the country.


Udawattekele Sanctuary

After reading books like The Secret Garden, many of us have dreamt of exploring a forbidden garden. In Kandy, your dream can come true. The Udawattekele Sanctuary, located right next to the Royal Palace complex was once forbidden, limited to only the royals and called the Uda Wasala Watta. Today, everyone from foreign tourists to children on school trips can visit the forest which was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1938.
The forest is famous as a birdwatching destination due to its rich avifauna which contains a variety of migratory birds as well as endemic species such as the Sri Lanka hanging parrot. It's also home to a wonderful collection of mammals like the mouse deer, golden palm civet, and the Indian flying fox; to name a few. You can find an ancient fortress within the forest as well the pond where the royal family used to bath.


Botanical gardens

A trip to Kandy is never complete without taking a stroll around the Royal Botanical Gardens that are also known as the Peradeniya Gardens. Located about 20 minutes from the Kandy city, the gardens contain an astounding number of around 4000 species of plants, including orchids, medicinal plants, spices, and palm trees. They were once the property of King Wickramabahu III when he kept court Peradeniya near the Mahaweli River in 1371. The gardens were developed into what it is today first by the British and then the Department of Agriculture.

Some of the highlights of the Peradeniya Gardens include the giant bamboo of Burma, the century-old giant Javan fig tree, double coconut palm, and the cannonball tree with its massive fruit that resembles cannon balls.


Hanthana Mountain Range

A real treat for nature lovers, the Hanthana Mountain Range lies to the southwest of the Kandy city. The mountain range was declared as an environmental protection area in 2010 in order to conserve the rich biodiversity it holds. The Hanthana Mountain range, so named because in Sinhalese it means 'mist-laden mountain', consists of seven peaks that make the ideal base for hiking.


Kandy Lake

The Sea of Milk as it is also called; the Kandy Lake is a beautiful artificial lake which is situated in the midst of the city surrounded by many such as the Senani Hotel. The lake is the ideal spot to relax with a nice stroll while admiring the beautiful scenery around you.
Built in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, the lake is the centre of many legends one of which says that there is a secret tunnel under the lake, which was used by the royal family to travel from the palace to island in the middle of the lake.