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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 25, 2019
Headline for Best things to do in Kandy – Sri Lanka's hill capital
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best things to do in Kandy – Sri Lanka's hill capital

The city of Kandy which is built around the Kandy Lake was Sri Lanka's capital city during the reign of the country's last king. It is also one of the most religious places in the whole country.


Watch Traditional Kandy Dancing

The traditional Kandyan dance is said to be based on an exorcism ritual conducted by Indian shamans that lived in Sri Lanka according to the local folklore. The dances are performed by dancers dressed in traditional attire that is associated with the dance. The only instrument used to create the music a drum that is unique to the country called the "Geta Beraya".


Temple of the Tooth Relic

Known as Sri Dalada Maligawa by the locals, the temple tooth relic is one of the most sacred religious places in the city as it home to one of Lord Buddha's teeth. The temple has many large paintings depicting some of the important moments of the life of Lord Buddha and is also home to a wide variety of Buddhist artefacts. The best time to visit the temple is during the month of August when the festival of lights of the Asela Maha perahara happens and the entire city comes alive. Be sure to book hotels in advance if you're visiting Kandy for the festival of lights as all the hotels in the city tend to be fully booked during this period.


Take a stroll around the Kandy Lake

Located at the heart of the city, the Kandy Lake is a man-made lake that was built in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe to complement the Temple of the tooth relic. The island located at the centre of the lake was initially used by the King as his living quarters when the lake was first built. It was later repurposed to act as an armoury by the British during their rule of the country.


Tea factory tours

Kandy is surrounded by many sprawling tea estates where the world renown Sri Lanka tea is manufactured. Taking a tea tour is one of the most popular things to do in Kandy if you're staying a hotel in the city similar to Mountbatten Bungalow. The tour starts by giving you the chance to see how the tea is plucked by the estate workers. Next, you see the steps that the tea goes through at tea factories before it is ready to be packed and exported. Tourists can even taste the brands of tea that are manufactured at the tea factory and buy a few bags of their favourite tour at the end of the tour.


Peradeniya Botanical Gardens

Located around 6 kilometres away from the heart of Kandy, the Peradeniya botanical gardens have been visited by Queen Mary, Mahatma Gandhi and other famous dignitaries. The park is open during the hours of 8AM-5PM and charges a nominal amount for entry. The Royal Palms, Burma Bamboo that is 40 metres tall and a large collection of orchids are some of the stunning things you'll see while this beautiful Gardens.


Kandy City Centre (KCC)

Situated close to Kandy railway station and the main Kandy bus halt, the Kandy city centre is a large shopping mall that is made up of restaurants, clothing, mobile accessories and shoe shops. It is a frequent hangout spot for locals living in the area and always has something happening. It also has several stores selling local handicraft, making it the ideal place to purchase souvenirs and memorabilia.