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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Top 5 Incredible Things to Do in Kandy - Discover the Last Kingdom of Sri Lanka
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Top 5 Incredible Things to Do in Kandy - Discover the Last Kingdom of Sri Lanka

Kandy is the cultural capital of the island, home of the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, beautiful sculpture, architecture and Buddhist temples. The surrounding hillsides contain tea estates, botanical gardens, and so much more.


Visit the Temple of The Sacred Tooth

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in the Royal Palace Complex is the most significant attraction in Kandy.
This elaborately decorated golden-roofed temple holds a tooth relic of Lord Buddha. This relic was brought to Sri Lanka during the 4th century from India. From that point onwards, every potential ruler had to own the tooth relic to lay claim to the kingdom. The relic lies in a casket of pure gold, inside an intricately carved chamber surrounded by flowers and other treasures. Devotees get to honour the Sacred Relic with flowers and prayers.


Discover the biggest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya (the closest city to Kandy town) is the most extensive botanical garden on the island. The gardens were once exclusively reserved for the Kandyan royals and nobility. In 1821, during the British occupation of the land, it was transformed into a botanical garden.
The gardens have over 10,000 trees across 60 hectares and showcase the island's impressive range of flora. The lane of royal palms, the orchid garden and the Cannonball Tree are some of the best highlights in the gardens. The expansive lawns are just the place to relax and have a picnic on a warm sunny Kandy afternoon.


Experience the Kandy Cultural Dance Show

Kandy is the home of the unique Kandyan dancing, and the Kandy Cultural Centre is just the place to experience it. Located near the Temple of the Tooth, it is an institution with 40 years of history behind it.
The cultural show will introduce you to Kandyan dancers in their incredible costumes, fire walkers, fire twirlers, drummers and more.
You will get to witness many dance styles like the Magul Bera, Devol Natuma, and Puja Natuma. These centuries-old dancing traditions were handed down by families through many generations. A majority of them are closely connected to the sacred tooth relic, as some were specifically performed to honour the Buddha.
If you're looking for luxury accommodation, a Kandy 5-star hotel the likes of Earl's Regency Kandy is among the popular choices available.


Encounter exquisite woodwork at Embekke Devalaya

Built by King Vikramabahu III in 1357-1374 CE, this temple is situated in Udunuwara within the Kandy District. The shrine at Embekka Devalaya honours the guardian god, Kataragama and the village deity, Devatha Bandara.
The temple's three sections are the Garagha, where the figures of divinities are placed, the Dance Hall, where dancing events were held, and Drummer's Hall, where the drums were sounded.


Explore the Lankathilaka Temple

This 14th-century temple lies perched on a stony outcrop called Pahanagala in Sinhalese. The temple's eastern and western facades highlight detailed and elaborate designs of Kandyan-style art and architecture. The eastern front holds the Image House of the Buddha, while the west occupies temples to Buddhist gods. You will encounter murals and sculptures of the Gampola/Kandyan period of art in Sri Lanka.

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