"Kandy: Temples and other historically important sites"
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth relic is the 'lodestar of the Buddhists". The present Temple was constructed mainly under the Kandyan Kings from 1687 to 1707, and 1747-82. It is an imposing structure, surrounded by a deep moat. One of the most spectacular sections of this temple; the Pattirippuwa or the Octagon, was added by king Sri Wickrema Rajasingha in the early 19th Century. He also built the Kandy lake.
Rituals are enacted daily in the temple to venerate the relic, accompanied by flute playing and drumming.
For more information about the dalada maligawa click here
Kandy's principal Buddhist Viharas (Monasteries) have considerable importance - the chief incumbents (high priests) of these two monasteries, are the senior ecclesiastics of the Buddhist order in Sri Lanka. The Malwatte monastery on the southern side across the lake is embellished with 18th century architectural design and planning. The higher order ordination of the sangha (the monks), take place annually in both these temples.
The Asgiriya Temple is situated in the western side of the city at Asgiriya. In one of the shrine rooms of this temple is a gigantic Buddha statue of the recumbent Buddha. In Asgiriya is also found the cremation ground of the Kandyan Royalty.
This Buddhist temple sited on a rock, was built by king Buvanekabahu IV and completed in 1344 AD. It has a rooted dagoba and many splendid stone carvings, ornamental pillars and panels with figures of dancers and musicians. A moonstone marks the entry to the main shrine.
Built on a rocky outcrop, the temple is reached by a long series of steps cut directly into the rock. A cruciform brick building in three storeys, it has a peculiar architectural design.
The temple is full of exquisite painted scenes of the lives of 24 former Buddhas and there is a colossal seated image of the Buddha.
Situated at Welamboda, Embekke Temple is a deistic shrine dedicated to God kataragama.
This is a superb example of architecture in wood, and was established by King Vikramabahu in 1371 AD.
The wood art of this temple is astounding - dancers, swans, creepers, soldiers on horseback, floral emblems, double headed eagles, wrestlers, etc. Special treasures are the doorways of sandalwood and the palanquin used by King Rajasinghe II.
Degaldoruwa is a cave temple which could be reached by crossing the bridge at Lewella. It was built by King Rajasingha in 1771 AD. It is replete with outstanding murals of brilliant red backgrounds depicting the Jataka stories.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Peradeniya is well known for its large variety of plant life. The area, nearly 150 acres in extent, is beautifully undulated, its average elevation above sea-level being about 1,540 feet. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Peradeniya were established in 1821, six years after the final occupation of the Kandyan Kingdom by the English. However, its s history dates as far back as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III ascended the thrown and kept court at Peradeniya near Mahaweli River. The site is less than four miles from Kandy on the Colombo road, and occupies a loop of the river Mahaweli.
Kandy is also famous for the Esala Perahera, easily the most colorful pageant in Asia. As the pageantry unfolds through
Ten nights each year, the city of Kandy takes on the air of a torch-lit dreamland. The par taking colorfully caparisoned elephants, drummers, dancers and chieftains in the rare colorful trappings of the old kingdom.