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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 25, 2019
Headline for The Lesser Known Places of Kandy – Perfect Historical Holiday City
Joanna James Joanna James
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The Lesser Known Places of Kandy – Perfect Historical Holiday City

Kandy the last kingdom of Sri Lanka, lauded for preserving ancient traditions and proud heritage is a place of historic splendour and world-famous pilgrimage sites. Kandy is the capital of the Hill Country, Sri Lanka's own paradise of nature's best. Now, let's explore unknown treasures of Kandy.


Discover the Beauty of Udawattakelle Sanctuary

Kelle in Sinhala means forest, and the Udawatta (upper garden) forest is located on a hill behind the iconic Temple of the Tooth Relic or Dalada Maligawa. The Kings Pavilion hotel is just 13 minutes from this sanctuary in case you're looking for a landmark or even a luxury boutique hotel in Kandy to stay at. The forest is the country's first protected nature reserve and was once home to a legendary hermit monk responsible for naming the city – Senkadagala (Kandy's royal name). Explore the rich-biodiversity of Udawattakelle, home to a range of indigenous trees, 81 types of birds, old forest monasteries, secret tunnels and caves which were once home to recluse monks.


The Sombre British Garrison Cemetery

This attraction too is found close to the Dalada Maligawa and is the final resting place for British soldiers. Used between 1817 and1909 the cemetery was established during the British colonial rule of Sri Lanka. Buried there are not only the garrison soldiers but also prominent figures from Kandy's history, including the wife of British Governor William Gregory. Explore the headstones on the graves and you will see many buried there died at a young age.


Check-Out the Royal Baths

Better known as 'Rajapihilla' the royal baths are found about 2kms from the Kandy city centre. The open-air bath was constructed by King Weeraparakrama Narendrasinghe sourcing canal water flowing through the Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve. The vintage bath is constructed from granite; a stone bowl fashioned atop a stone pillar six feet tall. Best of all, the bath is still used to provide water for public bathing.


Bird-Watch at Arthurs Seat

Arthurs Seat is not of the round table type, but rather a stunning lookout point; loved by birders for its vantage point overlooking the pretty Kandy Lake. The seat at the point was indeed carved into the rock by a British planter by the name of 'Arthur' who wanted to enjoy the splendours of Kandy from atop. The seat is still a loved attraction amongst tourist, although little known amongst the locals.


The Dalada Maligawa Library

That's right a library, the Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth will most likely be one of the first places you visit in Kandy, but the library is often overlooked. A pity really for the place opened in 1875, by British Governor William Gregory is home to over 2,000 ola leaf scrolls over a century old as well as, vintage prints of literature. To visit the library you must first get permission from the administrative office of the Dalada Maligawa; well worth the effort if you are a lover of history and culture.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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