Hidden away amid lush green hills at the heart of the island, KANDY is Sri Lanka’s cultural capital, home to the Temple of the Tooth, the country’s most important religious shrine. Known to be last independent bastion, the Kingdom of Kandy clung onto its freedom long after the rest of the island had fallen to the Portuguese and Dutch, preserving its own unique customs and culture which live on today in the city’s unique music, dance and architecture.
The Bogambara Lake or Kandy Lake or Kiri Muhuda (Sea of Milk) is an artificial lake built by the King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in the 1800s. Before the lake was built, there existed a stretch of paddy fields by the name of “Tigolwela”, these paddy fields had a small lake in the middle called “Kiri Muhuda” or “Sea of Milk”, that is how the lake got its name Kiri Muhuda. Deveda Moolacharya is considered the architect of this lake. The lake had many architectures adjoined to it, the special one being the tiny island called the “Jayathilake Mandapaya”, this was used by the King and Queen as a Royal summer house but was later changed to an ammunition store after the invasion of the British. For a several dollars, you can also enjoy a joy boat ride around the Bogambara lake.
The Kandyan cultural dance show in the Kandy Lake club shows the vibrant, rich cultural tradition of Sri Lanka. The one hour lasting dance show consists as many as 12 cultural dances of traditional fire and harvest show, ceremonial drums and the drum orchestra. The place is lively with drummers and ladies who dance to the percussions. A fire walking show at the end completes the traditional performances. You will find the fire walkers, walking through a charcoal fire pit of 8 feet in length without being hurt. The show is a must watch if you staying in Kandy. The seats are on first come first serve basis, so be there early to secure the best seat.
The now national museum was a building constructed by Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, this was commonly known as the Palle Vahala. The Palle Vahala was mainly used by the Queens of King Rajasinghe and was a domestic abode for the concubines too. Later, this museum was used as a location to store goods made by the Kandy and Matale craftsman during the year 1832 A.D. after which it was turned into a museum of art and culture. The building is located next to the Temple of Tooth Relic and houses about 5000 artifacts ranging from crafts, jewelry, weapons and tools. The museum also contains a copy of the 1815 agreement in which the Kandyan Kingdom is handed over to the British, making it the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka. You should definitely visit this place to know about the central highlands and its Sri Lankan history.
The Royal Botanic Gardens or Peradeniya Gardens as simply called by Sri Lankans is the national herbarium of Sri Lanka. It is located in the central province of Kandy and is closely located to the Mahaweli Ganga river - the largest river in Sri Lanka. The garden houses nearly 4000 varieties of plant species including medicinal plants. The speciality of the garden is the variety of orchids present for display. The gardens is indescribably beautiful with large shady trees and centuries old palms along the pathways. You can also visit the hanging bridge over the Mahaweli Ganga river. Never miss the opportunity to visit this garden if you are in Kandy.
Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the sacred tooth relic) is a temple that is revered by the majority Sinhala Buddhist in Sri Lanka for the presence of tooth relic of Gautama Buddha. This has been named as a world heritage site by the UNESCO. The tooth relic has been a symbol of governance during the ancient history of Sri Lanka. Various Kingdoms of Sri Lanka has maintained the tooth relic in temples built especially for this purpose.