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  • Writer's pictureRoshan Dhanasekar

Beautiful Kandy, for the traveller in you

After spending two quiet days at Sigiriya and exploring the UNESCO heritage site, I was back on the road, en-route to my next destination - Kandy.

Kandy holds a very prominent sentiment among the people of the country. Known as the cultural capital of the country, it truly is a treat for visitors, culture enthusiasts and people who love nature. Situated at an elevation of 500 m or 1600 feet above the sea level, it was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era in Sri Lanka. Having a strong historic influence on the people of the nation, I was all set to explore the city and see what it had in store for me.

What to explore in Kandy?

The Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic

While it is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, it is an amalgamation of history, culture and nature. Situated amidst the hills of the Kandy plateau, it is home to the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic or Sri Dalada Maligawa, one of the most important and sacred places of worship among the Buddhist community.

According to ancient history, after Gautham Buddha’s death, his tooth was preserved in Kalinga, a historic town in the eastern coastal region between the Mahanadi and Godavari rivers. Later, the tooth was smuggled by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha on the instructions of her father, King Guhasiva to the land of Lanka and was handed over to the then king of Anuradhapura.

Having played a significant role in the politics of the country, it was considered that whoever holds the relics holds the right to rule. That being said, the tooth relic was handed over to different monarchs of the nations with time before settling in Kandy.

The temple is located in the palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and is surrounded by museums and art galleries which tells stories about Buddha, the Buddhist community, the monarchs who held the relic and about different historic events which took place around the tooth relic.

People of many beliefs make their visit to the temple daily to offer prayers, and not in the wildest of my dreams did I imagine that I would be at a place that holds a strong significance in the Buddhist culture and the people of Sri Lanka.

Entry fee: LKR 1000 for passport holders from the SAARC Nation

The Kandy Culture and Fire Show

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like doing touristy things. However, if I was to do something touristy in Sri Lanka, it would have been the Kandy Culture and Fire Show. Performed by the local artists of Sri Lanka, it is an epitome of the Sri Lankan culture, their heritage, and snippets from the historical events. The thing that I loved the most was when the show ended with a fire show, where the performers danced on fire which reflected upon their rich culture and tradition.

These talented local performers put up a great show and if you are in Kandy, I strongly recommend you to go watch the show and support them.

Ticket Price: LKR 1000

Time: 5:00 PM onwards for an hour

Kandy Lake

Kandy is a breath of fresh air. If you don’t feel like doing anything in the city, you would love doing one thing - which is taking a stroll around the lake. The 3.4 KM shore length might seem like a lot, but trust me, once you start walking you will not feel like you have walked all the way.

If you want to get a little more touristy, Kandy Lake also has a boat service, which you can hop on and enjoy a different perspective of the town from the waters. Though I wouldn’t recommend this, it totally depends upon your budget, your agenda and what you actually like doing.

Explore its markets

Kandy isn’t big and the best way that to explore the city and its markets is on foot. The small town with warmhearted people with a smile on their face is an experience in itself and is a treat to the tourist in you.

Where to eat?

Though a small town, Kandy has a lot to offer you in terms of food. You will come across famous fast-food joints like KFC, Dominos, and Pizza Hut for your comfort food cravings, vegetarian restaurants for the vegetarian in you and cute cafes with continental options. And during one of my evening walks in the city, I came across a cute cafe called Cafewalk. Situated in the city centre near the Kandy Lake, this cafe was a breath of fresh air with mouthwatering food and thirst-quenching fresh fruit juices.

Another cafe that I adored the most during my time in Kandy, which was in the comforts of my accommodation was the rooftop cafe at the Deck on the Hills. Overlooking the city and Hanthana hill, a morning coffee would be a perfect choice here.

How to reach Kandy?

The best way to reach Kandy is by bus. If you are coming from Colombo, you can also take a train, however, it might be a little crowded depending upon which season you are visiting Sri Lanka. My last stop having been Sigiriya, I chose the comfort of a bus and it took me about 2.5 hours to reach the beautiful city of Kandy. Though a splitting headache made friends with me, the refreshing breeze of Kandy came to my resue and welcomed me.

Where to stay?

Kandy is a town that can offer you with elaborate and expensive resorts to friendly hostels, and I chose to stay at Deck on the Hills, a hostel situated a little away from the city centre. Raju, the host, made sure that I was comfortable throughout my stay and the rooftop cafe had an amazing spread of food which relished my tastebuds.

Having said all of this, when I spoke to people about my trip to Sri Lanka and especially about my time in Kandy, a lot of them frowned upon and said that the town didn't have much to offer. However, I beg to differ. To me, Kandy had a lot to offer and it totally depends upon the person you are and what your interests are. Have you been to Kandy yet? Let me know in the comments down below.

Follow me on Instagram @weirdlyrosh as I explore different cities and tell you stories from the road.

P.S: Information pertaining to the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic was sourced from Wikipedia for factual correctness.

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