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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Important Landmarks in Kandy - Sri Lanka's Last Kingdom
Joanna James Joanna James
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Important Landmarks in Kandy - Sri Lanka's Last Kingdom

Kandy sits in the salubrious climates of Sri Lanka's central hills. The ancient city is proud of its heritage and staunchly hangs onto traditions and customs reflected in the following landmarks.


The Temple of the Tooth Relic

The most iconic landmark in Kandy is the Temple of the Tooth Relic. It is home to a tooth of the Lord Buddha; which in ancient times was guarded by those in power. The temple of the tooth, called the Dalada Maligawa in the local dialect, is one of the nation's biggest pilgrimage sites and is easily accessed from any well-located hotel Kandy city has to offer. The temple, in fact, occupies the old royal palace, and sits right in the middle of town, facing another iconic landmark, the Kandy Lake. In late July or early August, the temple celebrates its feast with the Esala Perahera; a grand procession which takes the relic, enclosed in a golden casket, across town on the back of an elegantly clad elephant. The procession is enhanced with Kandyan dancers, traditional drummers, more elephants, noblemen and fire dancers amongst much more.


Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake is also called the Bogambara Lake or the Sea of Milk - Kiri Muhuda; it is an artificial lake built in 1807 by the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Wickrema Rajasinge. The lake sits in the middle of Kandy Town, facing the Temple of the Tooth Relic. This lake is considered sacred and no fishing is allowed, although boat rides across its clear surface are allowed. In the middle of the lake is a small islet that, according to ancient folklore is connected to land via a secret underground tunnel from the palace. Visitors can enjoy the cool breeze wafting across the lake while indulging in long leisurely walks around its banks. There are stools to sit on and admire the views, which consist of lush foliage and hilly roads in the background. Just 15 minutes from the Kandy Lake, hotels like Kings Pavilion Kandy offers easy access to this ancient body of water.


The Hanthana Mountain Range

The Hanthana Mountain Range lies to the south west of the city. A truly beautiful environ to explore, the place was declared a protected environmental area in 2010. The range itself is made up of seven peaks; the highest is 3,800 feet tall and is named Uuru Kanda. The range is a favourite amongst mountain hikers and explorers for its stunning views and invigorating atmosphere.


The Royal Palace of Kandy

The Royal Palace was home to the last king of Sri Lanka before the British overthrew him in 1815. The palace is occupied in part by the Dalada Maligawa, while the rest consists of the King's palace, the Royal Audience Hall, Queen's Palace, King's Harem and the Bathing Pavilion of the Queen. The quarters reserved for the tooth relic is from days of the royal ruling, and legend states that the owner of the tooth relic will have the power to rule the land.


The Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens

Another iconic attraction in Kandy is the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kandy, located at the western entrance to the city, about 5kms from the centre; the gardens are close to the country's longest river named the Mahaweli. The place is famous for its vast collection of orchid plants, together with 4,000 species of flora. These include spices, palms, and medicinal plants.

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