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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top Things to Do in Kandy – Apart for Relaxing in the Hill Capital
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Top Things to Do in Kandy – Apart for Relaxing in the Hill Capital

Home to Sri Lanka's last kingdom, hill capital of Kandy is nothing short of beautiful. Misty hills, loads of culture and ancient traditions, make this a fascinating city to explore. Here are a few.


Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth Relic is one of Sri Lanka's iconic Buddhist pilgrimage sites. It is, of course, a focal attraction that defines Kandy as a city that's swathed in religious traditions. The shrine is home to a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and housed within part of the ancient Royal Palace. The temple is a marvellous discovery for culture buffs and those interested in a taste of local devotion. The Randoli Perahera, an annual parade that takes place in July – August, is when the sacred relic is transported on the back of a magnificently attired elephant. The temple located in the centre of town is home to many ancient artefacts, its golden pagoda visible across the region.


Explore the Kandy Lake

Easily accessed from well-placed Kandy hotels, the Lake takes centre stage in the city. It is deemed sacred and no fishing is allowed, although there are plenty of popcorn sellers offering their wares for visitors to feed the hundreds of fish that thrive in the water. The Lake is surrounded by a beautiful white border and allows boat rides. Leisurely walks around its beautiful banks are by far one of the most popular activities to enjoy in Kandy. Sitting in front of the Dalada Maligawa, the lake has an ancient pool on one side, that the queen was said to access via a secret tunnel from the palace grounds.


Relax at The Royal Botanical Gardens

Just 24 minutes from Mahaweli Reach Sri Lanka, the Royal Botanical Gardens is home to over 10,000 trees and about 40,000 types of plants. Established by the British colonist this garden is believed to be one of the best in Asia. The place is indeed stunning and home to unique foliage such as the giant bamboo of Burma, the double coconut palm, the orchid garden and beautifully manicured gardens that are highly conducive to relaxing.


Degal Doruwa Raja Maha Viharaya for Ancient Artefacts

Degal Doruwa is a cave temple that is still kind of a secret; hidden away in the lush outskirts of the city the place is housed within a cave created by huge boulders. Open from 8 am to 6 pm, the temple which was constructed in the 18th century is home to ancient murals that adorn the ceiling and walls. The paintings will prove to be fascinating to follow, as they depict jathaka katha or tales of Lord Buddha's many lives.


The Sri Dalada Museum

Occupying the second half of the Royal Palace, the museum is part of the Sri Dalada Maligawa and located on two floors of the new temple wing. There, on display are gifts donated by past presidents and religious leaders of the world to the temple. There are also letters and documents that showcase the deep respect the ancient colonisers seem to have had towards the tooth relic and holy shrine.

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