Kandy, the last Sinhalese kingdom, is a major part of Sri Lanka's history and home to many of the island's cultural treasures. Kandy, meaning 'hill,' was originally an indestructible fortress against invading colonial powers, withstanding all invasion efforts until the British deposed the monarch in 1815.
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (commonly known as Sri Dalada Maligawa), one of the most famous Buddhist temples in the world, was established to protect the sacred tooth relic claimed to belong to Lord Buddha and has been stored in Sri Lanka for hundreds of years. Tourists to the city can stroll along Kandy Lake, saunter through the gorgeous Botanical Gardens - established by the British in the 19th century and remains one of Asia's most beautiful gardens and visit the Kadungannawa Tea Factory.
Kandy is one of the best destinations in Sri Lanka to learn about the country's art history and the Kandyan cultural show, the Perahara is surely a breathtaking experience for anyone who visits this charming city.
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, located around 5.5 kilometers west of Kandy is one of the main tourist destinations in the Central Province. It is located near the magnificent Mahaweli River which is the longest river in Sri Lanka. There are around 4000 plant species in the garden, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants, and palm trees. The "National Herbarium of Sri Lanka" is attached to it. The botanical garden covers 147 acres (0.59 sq.km) and is located at 460 meters above sea level, with a 200-day annual rainfall. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture's Division of National Botanic Gardens.
Tracing the history of this wonderful place, the Botanical Gardens was founded in 1371, when King Wickramabahu III succeeded to the throne and established his palace in Peradeniya, near the Mahaweli River. King Kirti Sri and King Rajadhi Rajasinghe were the next to arrive. When the British took control of the Kingdom of Kandy, King Wimala Dharma built a temple on this site, but it was destroyed by the British. This splendid garden offers varied plants such as Asplenium nidus, Bambusa vulgaris, Borassus flabellifer and many other. It is a must to witness the colourful and spectacular highland beauty.
The Festival of the Tooth, also known as the Kandy Esala Perahera (the Sri Dalada Perahara procession of Kandy), is a festival held in Kandy, Sri Lanka, between July and August. This historic procession takes place every year to pay reverence to the Buddha's Sacred Tooth Relic, which is kept at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy.
The ceremony includes traditional local dances such as fire dances and whip-dance outfits, making it a one-of-a-kind icon of Sri Lanka. Monks from the Malwatte Chapter and the Asgiriya Chapters of the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka perform the ceremonies associated with the Tooth Relic. It is the Diyawadana Nilame's (Chief Custodian of The Temple of Tooth) responsibility to plan the Perahera. He summons a large number of officials and entrusts them with various ceremonial tasks related to the ceremony. The Esala Perahera altogether is a blessing and brings value to the Central Province which leaves a memory that would trace back into the city.
Kandy is where tea was first planted in Sri Lanka. The estates themselves are strewn throughout the surrounding hills – in Nilambe, Hantane, Pussellawa, Gampola and Hewaheta – despite the fact that the capital is nestled in a very low-lying valley. Because they are not as high as those in the southern portion of the central massif, the tea from the Kandy region is classified as mid-grown with cultivation altitudes ranging from 650 to 1,300 meters (2,000-4,000ft).
Though Kandy is somewhat sheltered, the southwest monsoon system has a significant impact on the local weather, with strong winds blowing up the mountain passes. Many of the estates are also grouped in valleys where the wind is less harsh, resulting in tea that is stronger and darker in colour than the rest of the region's output.
Kandy Lake, also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk, is an artificial lake in the centre of Kandy, Sri Lanka, established in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe near the Temple of the Tooth Relic. It has shrunk in size throughout the years. Fishing is prohibited in this protected lake. Kandy Lake is 6,544 square meters in size and has a circumference of 3.21 kilometers. The depth at the deepest point is 18.5 meters. A cloud-like parapet wall that measures 633.82 meters, is popularly known as Walakulu Bemma. In the past, the building in the middle of the lake, together with some old remains, was known as Diyatilaka Mandapaya. This pavilion is thought to have been utilized by the Kings for recreation.
The Kandy Lake is a great area to go for a walk or jog. A picturesque view of the hills and town can be seen along the shady trail that surrounds the lake. Overlooking the lake stands the Malwatte temple, one of the two head temples of the Siyam Nikaya school of Theravada Buddhism.
The University is located in Peradeniya in the Central Province, which bares lush greenery vegetation and mist-clad mountains, approximately 6 km from the City of Kandy, the historic capital of the last independent Kingdom.
The access to the University premises is through Galaha Road from the turn off near the historic Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. The University covers about 700 hectares of land and the developed area covering approximately 130 hectares is occupied by buildings of the faculties, halls of residence, staff bungalows, etc. Throughout the campus most trees begin to bear flowers in early March signaling the coming of spring. Lovers' Lane, Kissing Bend, open-air theater and the lower Hantana Road display a rare aesthetic beauty through the rich foliage.