“To Travel is to Live”– Hans Christian Andersen
My family and I visited Kandy in December 2016.When we were preparing an itinerary for SriLanka, many people suggested to visit the beautiful old town “ Kandy”. So, we decided to include this place in our trip. Personally, I liked Nuwara Eliya than Kandy or Colombo. Kandy is a very busy city and its true that it’s a city of rich heritage and culture.It’s around 3 hours drive from Colombo.
After the capital Colombo, Kandy is the next big city in SriLanka. Today, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most important places of Buddhist worship in the world due to the Temple of the Tooth
Places that we visited:
Millennium Elephant Foundation
There are lot of different elephant camps like ‘Millennium Elephant Foundation’ in Kandy.Your driver will no doubt take you to his favourite. These places works rather as a touristic attraction where the elephants are kept in chains.
Note: If you are from South India (especially from Kerala), please avoid such camps. There is nothing special here that you had not seen in Kerala. You can save some money here, by avoiding such places.
This is the main hangout place for the Locals and the tourists and its in the heart of the Kandy City. Seems it was created by the last ruler of Kandy in 1807. The lake also has a bad history where people who opposed the lake development was thrown to death in this same lake. It is good to stroll around the lake at any point of the day. There’s even an island in the lake, with palm trees!Try to avoid people who come near you with some ticket sale and so on.
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic(Sri Dalada Maligawa)
North of the Kandy Lake is the famous temple that houses Sri Lanka`s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha himself. You don’t, however, get to see the real tooth in the temple, as it is hidden in a golden casket shaped like a dagoba. A lot of Buddhists visit this temple throughout the year. Pilgrims gather every morning in the temple to pray and bring offerings of flowers and it’s a beautiful sight to behold. Frangipani, lotus and jasmine flowers are placed in tribute to the relic.
Photography is not allowed in the inner line (the line closest to the tooth) but you can take photographs just behind it with the floral offerings.
Shoes must be taken off before entering the temple.
Big Buddha Statue(Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue)
A beautiful statue which towers over the city is the big white Buddha or locally known as Bahiravokanda Vihara. You can climb up the stairs and get the amazing panoramic views of the whole city!
Some tips while taking photos in front of Buddha Statue:
In General, another point to note here is that some(not all) Tuk-Tuk(Autorickshaws) drivers might charge you very high fares. So check with your hotel/resort and have a fair idea about the fares.
New Lucky Land Spice Garden
Sri Lanka is famous for its spices and spice gardens and there are so many in and around Kandy. Your driver will no doubt take you to his favourite. We went to ‘New Lucky Land Spice garden’ for a short period of time and sampled cinnamon, aloevera and a variety of oils.
Note: If you are from South India (especially from Kerala), please avoid such spice gardens. There is nothing special here that you had not seen in Kerala.
Rajanima Craft make high quality wood products with the help of Kandyan craftsmanship. A nice place to visit if you are around Kandy. We have not purchased anything from here, So not sure about the price and the formalities to take the crafts to the Home country.
Prasanna Gem Centre
Prasanna Gem Center offers you world class exotic Gem and Jewellery with their expertise from generations. You can buy ‘Stones’ from here. If you are planning to buy your birth stone , you can try this place. You can watch a short video about the evolution of certain stones and then see the workshop where the jewellery is made.
Kandy Dance (Drum and Fire Show)
There are three venues for dance/drum shows in Kandy, all located around Kandy lake. You can choose one, according to your wish. Lot of people visit these venues. So, try to reach the venue on time.
This is an nice program, which brings to life ancient heritage through music, drumming, magic and fire walking!
Food: Try out some Sea food.
There are lot of small local vendors in and around the city, so try out some street food aswell.
Other Places worth mentioning here:
We stayed in Earl’s Regent Hotel:
Located about 15-20 minutes’ drive from Kandy centre is the Earl’s Regent hotel. This hotel has a nice swimming pool and the friendly staff makes you feel right at home. The stay was comfortable and the service was really good. Our room was in the building which is on the left side of the main reception. Didn’t have an escalator. During checkout, we had to use the steps to bring down the heavy luggage. So if you have any old people in the group, please request for a room in the new building.