About Kandy

Country: India | State: Sri Lanka

Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days

Nearest City to Kandy: Kandy, Colombo (116 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Kandy: December to March

Peak Season: December to January

At a distance of 72 km from Nuwara Eliya, 92 km from Sigiriya, 110 km from Dambulla, 116 km from Colombo, 129 km from Ella, 137 km from Polonnaruwa, 140 km from Anuradhapura, 183 km from Trincomalee, 223 km from Galle, 245 km from Mirissa, and 321 km from Jaffna, Kandy is a scenic city located in central Sri Lanka. It is the capital of the Central Province of Sri Lanka and among the must-include places in Sri Lanka Tour Packages.

Set on a high plateau in the midst of the thick tropical forests and the tea plantations is the city of Kandy, the second-largest city in Sri Lanka. More popularly known as the hill capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy is known for its spirituality and laid-back charm due to which the colonial town is frequented by tourists as well as Buddhists, especially of the Theravada School. The well-planned town of Kandy added value to its legacy and never changed its roots for the sake of development. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in the year 1988.

The city and the region have been known by many different names and versions of those names. Some scholars suggest that the original name of Kandy was Katubulu Nuwara. However, the more popular historical name is Senkadagala or Senkadagalapura, officially Senkadagala Siriwardhana Maha Nuwara, generally shortened to 'Maha Nuwara'. The name Kandy is derived from an Anglicized version of the Sinhala Kanda Uda Rata, meaning the land on the mountain or Kanda Uda Pas Rata (the five counties/countries on the mountain). The Portuguese shortened this to 'Candea', using the name for both the kingdom and its capital.

As per the history, Kandy was first established by the Wickramabahu III (1357-1374 AD), near the Watapuluwa area, north of the present city and named Senkadagalapura at the time. Sena Sammatha Wickramabahu (1473-1511) was the first king of the Kingdom of Kandy. He ruled Kandy as a semi-independent kingdom under the Kingdom of Kotte. In 1592, Kandy became the capital city of the last remaining independent kingdom on the island after the coastal regions had been conquered by the Portuguese. Kandy repelled invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch as well as the British, most notably in 1803. The royal city fell into the hands of the British when the last Kandyan King, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha was captured by them in 1815.

Kandy is renowned for being the site of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, unarguably the most famous among all the temples of Sri Lanka. Kandy is also home to numerous remarkable museums, scenic attractions, meditation centers with dense nature around, and exciting trails. The National Museum of Kandy, the Dalada Maligawa Museum, the Royal Palace of Kandy, the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, and Kandy Lake are some of the important landmarks in Kandy. The city is also rich in arts and culture.

Kandy always has a special place when it comes to festivities such as the Esala Perahara. During the festival, one of the inner caskets of the tooth relic of Lord Buddha is taken for a procession around the city on a royal elephant, followed by dancers, drummers, flag and torchbearers, all decked up in their traditional costumes. This ceremony which is annually held in the months of July or August attracts large crowds from all parts of the country and also many foreign tourists.

The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is the nearest airport which is about 102 km from Kandy. It has well flight connectivity with India and other parts of Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States. Kandy Railway Station connects it to other important places of interest including Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Galle, and Badulla. Traveling by train is a safe, inexpensive and scenic way to get to Kandy. A huge network of buses operates in and around Colombo. There are a number of public and private buses that travel from Kandy to Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Ella and Galle on a daily basis. The best way to get around Kandy is on foot, tuk-tuks, local buses or renting bikes.

Though the city experiences cool and pleasant weather throughout the year, the best time to visit Kandy is from December to March as these are the driest months of the year, which facilitates a better sightseeing experience. While December and January being the most expensive months as incidentally these months coincide with the peak tourist season so that one might incur higher expenses for travel and accommodation. However, if you are planning to witness the festivities of the Kandy Esala Perahera, visit the city during July and August; fortunately, the rainfall is relatively low at this time of the year. The months of October and November are generally considered as the off-season for visiting Kandy, since this is the time of the monsoon, and the weather can play havoc with sightseeing plans.

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Average
STD Code: 0094-081
Languages Spoken: Sinhalese, Tamil, & English
Major Festivals: Esala Perahara

How to Reach Kandy

By Air

Nearest Airport: Colombo - Bandaranaike Airport (102 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Kandy Railway Station (0 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Kandy Central Bus Station (0.5 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Kandy


#1 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 2 km from Kandy Railway Station, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple located to the north of Kandy Lake. It is considered as one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and among the most remarkable places to visit in Kandy as part of Sri Lanka Tour.

Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy. This is the site of preservation of Lord Buddha's tooth, which is venerated by Buddhists around the world. The relic has played an important role in the local politics since ancient times as it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country, which caused the ancient kings to protect it with great effort. The temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

According to legend, the tooth relic was preserved in Kalinga after the parinirvana of Lord Buddha. It .....

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#2 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 2 km from Kandy Railway Station, the National Museum of Kandy is a museum located next to the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Once a part of the Royal Palace of Kandy, it is one of the popular museums in Sri Lanka and among the prime places to visit as part of Kandy Tour Packages.

The National Museum of Kandy is housed in the Palle Vahala building. The Palle Vahala or Lower Palace was constructed during the Sri Wickrama Rajasingha era and was used as a palace where the Queens of the king lived. This building has been built according to the architectural features of the Kandyan period. Earlier, it was used as a depository for historical artifacts made by the Kandy Art Association and artisans of Matale. It was opened to the public as Kandy National Museum in the year 1942.

Maintained by the Department of National Museums, the museum houses over 5,000 artifacts depicting the history and culture of Kandy and of the British era Sri Lanka. The artifacts .....

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#3 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 5 km from Kandy Railway Station, Royal Botanical Gardens is a landscaped garden situated at Peradeniya, Kandy. Also known as Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, this is the finest Botanical Gardens in Asia and among the prime places to visit in Kandy as part of Sri Lanka Packages.

Spanning over 147 acres, Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is the largest landscaped gardens in Sri Lanka and attracts approximately 2 million local and foreign visitors annually. The Royal Botanical Gardens were created in 1371 after King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and kept court at Peradeniya, near the Mahaweli River. King Kirti Sri, King Rajasinghe and King Vimala Dharma followed the reign and built several structures that were all destroyed during the colonial rule in Kandy. The British laid the groundwork for a botanical garden under the supervision of Alexandar Moon in 1821 for the cultivation of coffee and cinnamon plants. The .....

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#4 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 2 km from Kandy Railway Station, the Bahirawakanda Buddha Statue is located alongside the Sri Maha Bodhi Temple atop Bahirava Kanda (devil's) hill in Kandy. It is one of the tallest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka and among the must-visit places in Kandy while holidaying in Sri Lanka.

The Bahirawakanda Buddha Statue is standing at 88 feet high and can be seen from the entire city of Kandy. The construction of the statue began in the late 1980s by Ampitiye Dammarama Thero, a monk from the Amarapura Nikaya. It was finished in 1992 and officially inaugurated on 1st January 1993 by then President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

This beautifully sculpted white statue displays Buddha in Dhyana Mudra, the posture of meditation associated with his first enlightenment. There is a small gallery inside the statue that displays a collection of some magnificent pictures of Buddha's life from baby to manhood. The beauty of the statue doubles during the night when it is lit by lamps. The .....

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#5 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 1.5 km from the Temple of Tooth Relic and 3.5 km from Kandy Railway Station, Udawatta Kele Sanctuary or the Royal Forest Park of Kandy is situated on the hillside behind the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. It is one of the popular places to visit in Kandy.

Lying in the heart of the busy city of Kandy, Udawattakele Forest Reserve extends about 257 acres and is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much-populated city of Kandy. During the days of the Kandyan kingdom, Udawattakele was known as 'Uda Wasala Watta' in Sinhalese meaning 'the garden above the royal palace', frequented by the royalty and was out of bound to the people. Since the downfall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815, this forest area started to deteriorate due to human activities and was designated as a forest reserve in 1856. Later it became a sanctuary under British rule in 1938, and numerous pathways were created leading through the forest and were given names such as Lady Horton .....

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#6 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 2 km from Kandy Railway Station, Kandy Lake is an artificial lake located at the center of the hill town of Kandy in Sri Lanka. Situated next to the Temple of Tooth Relic, it is one of the popular places to visit in Kandy.

Also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk, Kandy Lake was built in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, the last ruler of the kingdom of Kandy. Later in 1810, the king built a dam across the paddy fields, for the purpose of reaching the opposite side of the lake. According to the folklore, several minor local chiefs protested this because their people objected to laboring on the project. In order to stop the protests, they were put to death on stakes in the lake bed.

The extent of Kandy Lake is 6,544 sq. m and the circumference is 3.21 km. There is a building located on a small island in the center of the lake, together with some ancient ruins, was known as Diyatilaka Mandapaya in the past. It is believed that the Kings used this pavilion .....

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#7 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 2 km from Kandy Railway Station, the Royal Palace of Kandy is an ancient palace situated near the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. Also known as Mahawasala, it is one of the must-visit places in Kandy as part of your Sri Lanka Tour.

The Royal Palace of Kandy was the royal residence of the Sri Lankan monarchy of the Kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka. The last king to reside in this palace was King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha (1798-1815). The first palace was built by King Wickramabahu III in the 14th century CE. King Vimala Dharma Suriya I (1592-1603) also occupied this palace and made various improvements to the existing palace. During the reign of King Senarat (1603-1634), the Portuguese attacked the Kandyan Kingdom and destroyed the palace. Rajasinha II who ascended to the throne in 1634 rebuilt it and all the subsequent kings used this as their Royal Palace until 1815 when the British took over Kandy.

The King's Palace or Raja Wasala was once part of a large .....

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#8 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 41 km from Kandy and 92 km from Colombo, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. It is one of the popular attractions to visit in Kandy as part of Sri Lanka Packages.

Pinnawala Orphanage was established in 1975 CE by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation in a 25-acre coconut property adjoining the Maha Oya River. It was originally founded for feeding and providing care to many orphaned baby elephants found in the jungles of Sri Lanka. The operations of this site began by rescuing and nurturing 5 abandoned baby elephants from the dense forests of Sri Lanka. The orphanage was taken over by the National Zoological Gardens from the Department of Wildlife in 1978 and a captive breeding program was launched in 1982. Since the inception of the program over 20 elephants have been bred here.

The addition of orphans continued .....

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#9 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 5 km from Kandy Railway Station, the Commonwealth War Cemetery is a British military burial ground located in Deveni Rajasinghe Mawatha, Kandy. Also known as Kandy War Cemetery, it is one of the popular War Cemeteries in Sri Lanka and among the prime Kandy Tourist Places.

The Kandy War Cemetery was established for soldiers of the British Empire who were died during World War II as well as a soldier who died during World War I. This place was initially known as Pitakande Military Cemetery and was owned by the Military authorities until it was taken over by the War Commission. The Commonwealth War Cemetery is one of the most well maintained and visited war cemeteries of the world.

At this beautifully landscaped cemetery, one can see one Commonwealth burial from the World War I and a further 196 Commonwealth burials from the World War II. The cemetery also has four foreign national burials and two non-world war burials. Of the 203 dead, 151 were from the army, .....

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#10 of 11 Places to Visit in Kandy

At a distance of 3 km from Kandy Railway Station, British Garrison Cemetery, also known as the Kandy Garrison Cemetery is a British cemetery located near the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic. It is one of the best places to visit in Kandy.

The cemetery was established in 1817 CE just after the British captured the Kandy for the British nationals who died in Ceylon. It was closed in 1873 due to a ban on burials within the municipal limits, although special provision was given to allow the burial of relatives of those interred in the cemetery, with the last person buried there being Annie Fritz in 1951. The cemetery contains 195 graves of men, women, and children. The names and the living years of those who buried were engraved on the tombstones. The most common causes of death were tropical diseases such as malaria and cholera.

The cemetery was restored in 1998 using financial contributions from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is currently maintained by a group called .....

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