Overview

Kandy (Maha Nuwara; Sinhala: මහ නුවර; Tamil: கண்டி) is the charming hill capital of Sri Lanka and the island’s second largest city.

The city was born in the 14th century and became the capital of the Kandyan kingdom in the 16th century. It was the seat of much of Sri Lanka’s culture. The Royal City fell to the British in 1815, when the last Kandyan King, Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe was captured.

For Buddhists, Kandy is the sacred city. The focal point is the Dalada Maligawa also known as the temple of the tooth, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is enshrined. There are many shrines and temples in and around Kandy, where you will see rare paintings, frescoes, wood and stone carvings.

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Dalada Maligawa

The Dalada Maligawa is also known the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Dalada Maligawa is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy which was the last capital of the Sinhalese kings. It is the most blessed sites of worship for Buddhists from all over the world. The temple that was built during the 16th century is the abode for the Tooth Relic of the Buddha (left canine tooth to be precise). It was brought to Sri Lanka by two siblings from the Kalinga province in India in the 4th century AD.

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.

 

Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya

The Royal Botanical Gardens which is also known as the Peradeniya Gardens is renowned for its 300 and more variety of orchids, medicinal plants and herbs and spices. The birth of the Gardens dates back to 1371 during the reign of King Wickramabahu III who kept court near the Mahaweli river

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 was formally 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 throne and kept court at Peradeniya near the Mahaweli River. The site is less than four miles from Kandy on the Colombo road, and occupies a loop of the river Mahaweli.

Gadaladeniya Temple

Gadaladeniya 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.

Lankathilaka Viharaya

Built on a rocky outcrop, the Lankathilaka Viharaya 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.

Embekke Devale

Situated at Welamboda, Embekke Temple is a deistic shrine dedicated to lord 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 palanquins used by King Rajasinghe II.

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