Must-See Sights in Kandy

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Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka, is surrounded by mountain ranges and tea plantations. Due to its distance of 3 hours from the capital, Colombo, Kandy is a favorite of travelers who want to spend a day or two visiting its colonial buildings and religious sites. While most guidebooks list the city of Kandy as the main attraction, there are more notable places to see outside of the city in the rainforest area. Sri Lanka, the island nation of South Asia, is indeed a sparkling pearl of joy in the heart of the Indian Ocean.

The lazy charm that clings to the hills and floats on the waves makes Sri Lanka a perfect destination for adventure, exploration and contemplation. Nestled between towering mountains and verdant peaks are some of the best places to visit in Kandy that are defined by calm and serenity. Apart from the stunning beaches of Sri Lanka, it is also famous for its religious sites and spectacular train rides. This is where Kandy’s role on your Sri Lankan route comes into play, as the gateway to one of the world’s most epic train journeys and home to a host of cultural exhibits.

Here is the list of must-see attractions in Kandy

temple of the tooth

Sri Dalada Maligawa is the Sinhalese name for this holy shrine. Famously called the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, it is touted as the holiest Buddhist temple in the entire world. It houses the Buddha tooth housed in a golden chamber and is located within the premises of the royal palace complex (formerly a princely estate). Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is said that whichever state has the tooth relic, it holds an essential place in the government of the country. The interior environment is exceptionally warm and welcoming; captivate with the scents of fresh flowers and candles and lamps lit with coconut oil. Inside the temple, daily pujas are held on the ground floor which consists of the Pallemaluwa. On Wednesdays, the relic is bathed with a preparation of herbs (scented water and aromatic flowers). It is called the Nanumura Mangallaya. This holy water is of great spiritual reverence and is distributed among the devotees.

Lake Bogamabara

This artificial lake was created in the early 19th century by the last of the Kandyan kings. The lake forms a beautiful backdrop for the Temple of the Tooth and the Royal Palace and is a quick escape from the city. There is an island in the middle of the lake that adds to the scenery. Many native Sri Lankan birds can be found here. So it is not surprising how many people walk around the lake.

Royal Botanical Garden

This place is counted as one of the best attractions in Kandy. Spanning over 60 hectares, the Royal Botanic Garden is the largest and one of the best places to visit in Kandy with hidden charm to explore. Located in Peradeniya, the place is quite close to the Mahaweli River. Along with the most striking orchids, you can find more than 4,000 species of plants in this Botanical Garden. You should definitely visit the Sri Lanka National Herbarium which is attached to this Royal Botanic Garden. Tourists can tour the entire 147 acres of the garden to spend the day. The garden is not something new as it was created in 1821 when it mainly contained coffee and cinnamon plants. Take a look at the Cannonball tree present in this garden which was planted by King George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary in 1901.

World Buddhist Museum

The International Buddhist Museum or World Buddhist Museum is the first of its kind in the world and is located in the cultural and administrative capital of Sri Lanka Kandy. It is located in the complex that once served as the residence of the King along with the National Museum and the Temple of the Tooth, so its structure exhibits royalty, grandeur and elegance at its best. Collect Buddhism, the long history of its teachings, and the depth of its knowledge through scrolls, artifacts, and memorabilia from around the world. Contributions from over 17 countries, including India, Pakistan, Japan, and China, can be viewed here. The purpose of this museum is the origin of Buddhism in the mentioned countries and its applications, showing the message of the Buddha and how it diverges in the modern world. The World Buddhist Museum houses paintings, photographs, models, and creative artwork from days gone by. The museum spans two floors and more than 20 rooms. It is aligned in a way that induces the mind into a sense of simplicity, peace and spirituality away from the chaos that prevails outside. There is an air-conditioned souvenir shop just outside the museum that has religious items and gorgeous miniature takeaways.

Buddha statue Bahiravokanda Vihara

The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue is a great start, with its magnificent panoramic views of the entire city of Kandy. The statue itself is ostentatiously made and towers 88 feet on the Bahirava Kanda Hill. You can also see this statue from almost anywhere in Peradeniya. The statue is reached by tuk tuks or, if you’re feeling adventurous, by foot. Sri Maha Bodhi Viharaya or Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha is a Theravada Buddhist temple on top of a hill in Kandy. True to its name, “Big Buddha” is known to be a mighty giant Buddha statue that dominates the princely state of Kandy. It shows Buddha taking the Dhyana Mudra position, which is how he attained enlightenment. A trip to the Big Buddha serves as a pilgrimage, an adventure, and an overall soul-searching experience. This statue is located on the Bahirava Kanda Hill, which means the Devil’s Hills in Sinhala due to its height and intensity. The white marble Big Buddha is beautifully illuminated at night with yellow lights shining from the top of the hill. It offers panoramic views of Kandy that shed light on civilization, Kandy Lake, evergreen forests and tea plantations.

Udawattekele Shrine

Kandy is a lush place in Sri Lanka, which maintains its position of green land due to the Udawattekele Sanctuary located in its lap. They also call it the Royal Park Palace, which is spread over a 257-acre site. Sri Lankans claim that this is their most important biological reserve. There are freshwater lakes, clean fresh air to revive your bodies, and the beauty of nature as far as the eye can see. You can also visit Garrison Cemetery, Senkanda Cave, Kodimale Peak and some Buddhist shrines hidden in the folds of this forest. The sanctuary is spread over 104 hectares and is mainly known for the different species of birds that reside in it. Offering up to 80 species of birds and animals such as mammals and insects, it is one of the must-see places in Kandy. Along with the wildlife, you can also visit the three Buddhist forest monasteries present in this place. Another attraction are the three Buddhist caves.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was opened to provide shelter and food for abandoned, injured and mutilated elephants. The ideology behind this project revolves around caring for abandoned baby elephants, who cannot survive without their mothers. This government institution for abandoned elephants invites people to observe the elephants up close as they go about their daily lives. Although all the elephants are accompanied by their mahout as they mingle with the visitors, they enjoy great freedom. The Orphanage covers a very large area with a rich landscape of tall trees, grasslands and streams. If you catch them at the right time, you can even see the elephants take a bath. The local park allows tourists to ride, pet and play with elephants. The animals are very friendly and if tourists jump into the water with them, they spray them with water from their trunks. It also recycles elephant droppings to make paper and happens to be the only factory in the world that does this.

Horton Plains National Park

Horton Plains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated at an altitude of 2,100 to 2,300 meters and is located in central Sri Lanka. It is a government protected area that is surrounded by huge cloud forests and endless grasslands. Horton Plains National Park is a popular destination for visiting the famous ‘Cliff at the End of the World’, a long, steep 880m drop where the plateau dramatically stops. Located in the foothills of the Totapola and Kirigalpota mountains, Horton Plains National Park is famous for being called “the end of the world” due to its thick, endless and mysterious roads.

There are misty lakes, waterfalls, exotic flora and fauna, as well as epic trails. You will be able to see animals such as leopards, samba deer, wild boars and langurs as well. Birders, get ready for a feast of the eyes: Ceylon blackbird, bulbul, mountain falcon, Ceylon white-eyed greed and many more come flying into Horton Plains. The protected area became a national park around the year 1988 and has since attracted a significant number of people to its greatness. Horton Plains is also the meeting point of three main rivers in Sri Lanka, and those are Mahaweli, Kelani and Walawe. The national park is home to many woody plants and Sri Lankan sambar deer.

Ceylon Tea Museum

The Ceylon Tea Museum in Kandy is an old place that was built here in the year 1925. It has become a tea museum that houses all kinds of books about tea, its discovery, processing and other facts. Machines and special shows are also organized. You can choose teas from the huge selection on offer at their in-house shop, enjoy tastings, and grab a quick bite at their restaurant. While all of this is great, what makes it better is the telescope here, through which you can see the very green and lush plantings of the Kunckles and Matale Range. Among the many names given to this island country such as Lanka, Lakdiva, Serendib, Sri Lanka was also named Ceylon, during British colonialism, reminding us of the famous Ceylon tea that originates from Sri Lanka. Located in Hantana, 3 km from the main city of Kandy, the Ceylon Tea Museum was established in 1925 as the former Hantana tea factory. Later in 1998 this tea factory became the famous Ceylon Tea Museum.

The museum showcases the history and heritage of the world famous and best Ceylon tea, showcases the glory of legendary tea pioneers such as James Taylor and Thomas Lipton and also exhibits ancient tea-making tools. Inside you’ll also find a large library and a beautifully themed tea cafe, bringing you the best flavors without any compromise. Worldwide.

Millennium Elephant Foundation

Abbreviated as MEF, this farm is home to lots and lots of elephants who live their lives in peace and in the midst of nature, being loved and bathed by their human caretaker friends. Here the landscape stretches over 15 acres, leaving plenty of room for animals to roam. Here you can ride the elephants bareback, with all safety precautions of course. You can also take walks and tours to learn more about their life, bathe them, enjoy cuddling with them and visit the museum or the Maximus manure paper factory.

Final words: Must-See Sights in Kandy

I hope you understand and like this list Must-See Sights in Kandy, if your answer is no then you can ask anything via contact forum section related to this article. And if your answer is yes then please share this list with your family and friends.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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