Kandy Places To Visit | A Journey Through Kandy’s Enchanting Destinations

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places to visit in Kandy

As the last capital of the ancient kings, Kandy is a significant city in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The region’s main town is Kandy, located in the Central Province. It is substantial both administratively and religiously. Sri Dalada Maligawa, the sacred, respected Buddhist Temple, is in Kandy and is known worldwide. Kandy was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 due to its cultural and historical significance, attracting tourists to explore the secrets of its regal past and spiritual sanctuaries. Here, we will discuss about Kandy places to visit in detail.

Places to visit in Kandy

There are many things to see in Kandy, like the well-known Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, botanical gardens, and historic temples. The city invites extensive study because it combines modernism and tradition. 

Kandy places to visit at a glance!

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy 

The Temple of the Scared Tooth Relic is known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. It is the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the world. It is inside the earlier royal palace complex of the Kingdom of Kandy. The temple appears in a golden light and holds the sacred tooth of the Buddha, which is inside. The temple’s enchanting attraction is revealed in the evening when lit up, giving off a mystical atmosphere.

In Sri Lankan legend, they recovered Buddha’s left tooth from his funeral fire. This temple holds the tooth. The interior conveys warmth and welcomes guests into a world filled with the aroma of fresh flowers and candles lighted with coconut oil. Everyday pujas increase spiritual impact. The extensive temple grounds connect to other attractions, such as Kandy Lake, the royal gardens, and the museum, contributing to its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is symbolic to hold the tooth relic since it represents an essential role in national governance. Kandy’s majesty, sacred protection, and rich historical legacy make it attractive.

Big Buddha – Bahiravakanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Sri Maha Bodhi Viharaya, also known as Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha, is situated on top of Bahirava Kanda hill in Kandy and has a statue known as the “Big Buddha.” This beautiful statue of the Buddha, holding the Dhyana Mudra, a sign of enlightenment, stares over the royal capital of Kandy. The white marble monument offers incredible views of Kandy, including the lake, green forests, and tea estates. It glows by yellow lights at night. The 27-meter-tall Big Buddha draws many visitors who come up the hill to offer prayers with lights, candles, and flowers, creating a picturesque journey amidst the beauty of nature.

Kandy View Point

It would help if you found the Kandy viewpoint during your stay in Kandy. A mere 1.7 kilometers from the city center, it is the highest point with amazing views. From this point of view, Kandy Lake and the Dalada Maligawa Temple appear below you. Seeing an unidentified sunrise or sunset is a joy for nature lovers and photographers. Not only is the Kandy Viewpoint host to breathtaking scenery, but it is also a short climb through steep slopes and cloudy air that makes for an enjoyable trip.

Udawattakele Sanctuary

Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is a 257-acre natural sanctuary atop a hill close to Dalada Maligawa. The jungle, with many plants, is an excellent place for people to visit three Buddhist monasteries. Birdwatchers can enjoy over eighty different species of birds as well as animals like toque monkeys, screaming deer, and slender loris. Local plants and trees coexist with orchid varieties in the forest. This is one of the places to visit in Kandy for couples. 

Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya

The most well-known garden in Sri Lanka is the Royal Botanical Gardens, 5 km west of Kandy. It’s a 147-acre natural paradise with over 4000 plant varieties on exhibition, including everything from orchids to spices and medicinal herbs. The park, well-known for its orchids, features plants worldwide, including trees planted by internationally renowned figures like Yuri Gagarin and Queen Elizabeth II. The garden is home to turtles, monkeys, and birds such as uncommon and migrating birds. Mainly, there’s a coffee shop with delicious homemade food. The Royal Botanical Gardens is a must-visit location for individuals who enjoy the outdoors and good food because it is a beautiful destination and a food experience.

Nelligala International Buddhist Center

The Nelligala International Buddhist Center is a beautiful Buddhist temple in the Kandy region, situated atop a mountain in Muruthalawa village. It attracts visitors and those who enjoy touring because of its stunning beauty and breathtaking panorama. This contemporary temple was established in 2015 and provides a peaceful sanctuary.

The Nelligala International Buddhist Center welcomes people of all faiths and has gold-colored Buddha statues that stand out against the blue sky. The temple has a distinct and scenic beauty while containing sacred remains belonging to Lord Buddha. The center, easily accessible by wheelchair for visitors to climb the summit, is only a short drive from Kandy city.

The Nelligala International Buddhist Center offers an oasis of calm with lots of parking space. A 360-degree view of the central highlands, including the breathtaking Hanathana Mountain Range, Alagalla Mountain, Batalegala, and Sri Pada Mountain, can be seen from the hill’s summit. For anybody looking for peace and tranquility amid Sri Lanka’s breathtaking scenery, visiting this Buddhist center promises to be a remarkable and refreshing experience, serving as a haven of spiritual comfort and natural beauty.

Ambuluwawa Tower

Reachable from either Gampola or Kandy, Ambuluwawa Tower is 3,567 meters above sea level and has 200 plants that belong to 80 different species. It is an area known for a variety of species. The stunning 360-degree views of towns, rivers, forests, and mountains make the climb enjoyable, even though it might sometimes be tricky. Famous peaks like Piduruthalagala, Bible Rock, Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), and the Knuckles Mountain Range surround Ambuluwawa. The area provides diverse scenery and a refreshing mountain breeze.

Those afraid of heights should exercise caution because the mist-covered views can be frightening when they clear. The area has vivid flowers, evergreen forests, and medicinal plants. Attractions like ponds, a sacred Bodhi tree, a water park, a stone park, and an herb garden are also available at the 48-meter-tall Ambuluwawa Tower. Ambuluwawa is 85 kilometers from Colombo and promises a beautiful journey of natural beauty and cultural value. 

Aluthnuwara Sri Dedimunda Dewalaya

It takes roughly 53 minutes to go 25.2 km to Aluthnuwara, Sri Dedimunda Dewalaya, a Buddhist temple in Aluthnuwara, Mawanella, Kandy district. King Parakramabahu II built the temple, dedicating it to Dedimunda Deviyo, a protector goddess of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, revered by the Sinhalese Buddhist population. It contains old wood carvings and paintings that provide insight into the area’s religious and cultural history.

Dawson Tower

Dawson Tower, situated on Kadugannawa close to the Colombo-Kandy Road, the island’s first modern roadway, is called Dosan Kuluna in Sinhala. Unfortunately, Captain William Francis Dawson, who started construction on the Colombo-Kandy Road in 1820, died while the project was underway. They built the Dawson Tower in 1832 as a monument to honor his service. Governor Edward Barnes oversaw the road project, and the area near the Kadugannawa pass pays tribute to Dawson’s engineering prowess and knowledge. As a postmortem legacy, Dawson Tower honors his noteworthy contributions to the construction project before his tragic death in 1829, possibly from a snake bite.

Ceylon Tea Museum

The Ceylon Tea Museum, transformed in 1998 from its original 1925 location as the Hantana Tea factory, reveals the extensive history of the highly recognized Ceylon tea. It acknowledges and highlights the achievements of tea pioneers like James Taylor and Thomas Lipton. This takes visitors on a tour through the legacy and history of this quality tea, complete with antique tea-making tools. It promises a total immersion with its vast library and unique tea cafe. The atmosphere reflects the pure essence of brewing tea, which makes it an absolute must for tea enthusiasts worldwide. Taste Ceylon tea and discover its flavors and history—each sip carries the significance of a century-old tradition.

Lankatilaka Temple

The Lankatilaka Temple is a well-known Gampola period building in Sri Lanka with an outstanding architectural design and a rich history from the 14th century. The Gadaladeniya Vihara Buddhist temple, located close to Kandy, is a witness to the passing of time. The rock writings, written in Tamil and Sinhalese, tell stories about the temple and the surrounding area.

The Lankatilaka temple on Panhalgala hill has three sections: the Stupa, the Bo tree, and the Temple building. The Temple building contains the Buddha Image home and other temples of God. This Buddhist Temple reflects the designs found in southern India, combining Indo-Chinese and Dravidian designs symbolic of the Polonnaruwa era.

It is one of the three well-known Western temples in Udunuwara, Kandy, and is called Lankatilaka Viharaya. Lankatilaka Viharaya, central to Embekke Temple (4 K.M. south) and Gadaladeniya (4 K.M. north), reflects the beauty of Lanka. Kandy’s Lankatilaka Viharaya stands tall, preserving the majesty and legacy of the island, while Polonnaruwa’s prominent temple remains hidden from view.

Kandyan Art Association

The Kandyan Art Association, housed in the historic KAA building on Sangaraja Mawatha, is the ideal destination for genuine Kandyan art and crafts. This location is a cultural gold mine, attracting tourists looking for unique presents, souvenirs, and serious art collectors. A cultural show featuring captivating dance and song celebrates Kandy’s colorful heritage daily.

The store is more than just a place to shop. It is also an inside look into Kandy’s traditional art creation methods. The Kandyan Art Association was founded in 1882 to protect and promote the traditional arts and crafts of the area. It invites guests to explore Kandy’s creative heritage, transforming the destination from a simple shopping trip into a cultural adventure.

Kandy beautiful places to visit

In addition to the famous places in Kandy, below are some places you should visit when traveling to Kandy. 

Embekke Devale

Embekka Devalaya is a historic temple in Udunuwara, Kandy district, Sri Lanka. King Vikramabahu III founded it between 1357 and 1374 AD. The temple has three parts: the Sanctum of Garagha, where statues of the guardian god Kataragama Deviyo; the Dance Hall, once a venue for dance performances during the King’s reign; and the Drummer’s Hall, famous for its beautiful woodwork, especially the carvings around the rooftop and pillars. This ancient ruin provides an overview of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural and religious past. This is one of the best places to visit near Kandy.

National Museum of Kandy

The nation’s rich history and cultural legacy, the National Museum in Kandy, Sri Lanka, has been around for many years. Once known as Palle Vahala, this museum changed its purpose from being a royal guest home to its current one. Acclaimed in 1942, the National Museum stands beside the renowned temple of the Tooth relic. With over 5,000 antiquities and Ola leaf manuscripts, it is a must-visit for intrepid tourists. The museum features significant statues, including one of the late Governor Sir Henry Ward. The stunning architecture from the Kandyan era houses exhibitions that offer an in-depth look at Sri Lanka’s history, culture, and ancestry.

Hanthana Mountain Range

The Hanthana Mountain Range, in Sri Lanka’s central highlands southwest of Kandy, was set aside as an environmental protection area in February 2010 because of the National Environment Act. Uura Kanda is the tallest of seven peaks in this mountain range, which reaches a maximum height of 1,200 meters (3,800 feet). Hanthana is a well-liked hiking location in Sri Lanka that attracts nature lovers. The Hanthana mountain range is a short distance from the University of Peradeniya, giving the school a picturesque background. Hanthana is a favorite destination for academic institutions and outdoor enthusiasts alike. It is an environmental protection area essential to maintaining the biodiversity and natural beauty of this area.

Hanthana Bird Park

Hanthana Birds Park is officially called the Hanthana International Bird Park & Recreation Center. It is a freshly built nature and birdwatching refuge just 6 kilometers from the bustling city of Kandy. The park features over 100 bird species, including uncommon Sri Lankan species. All birds are kept in secure cages for intimate inspection and set against the background of the well-known Hanthana Mountain Range, identified by recognizable radio transmission towers. In addition to enjoying the company of stunning parrots, who might even sit on their hands and shoulders, visitors can learn about the birds’ life cycles, habitats, and behaviors.

The park covers over 27 acres and fascinates young visitors with additional attractions, including monkeys, rabbits, and turtles. The park, next to the well-known Hanthana Tea Museum, is excellent for family outings and bird enthusiasts. Additional facilities include spaces for recreation, a breeding unit, educational resources, and an orphanage for birds.

Sandagiri Maha Seya 

This is next to the Hanthana Range; Sandagiri Maha Seya is a well-known sight in Kandy. Situated along the 850m-high pass on the Handana-Uduwela road, this enormous white dagaba is 1.7km from the Ceylon Tea Museum. The Stupa’s terrace, accessible by a steep side road, is 930 meters above sea level and offers a 180-degree view of the Mahaweli River valley and the sheer walls of the Hanthana Range. 

It is the biggest Stupa in Kandy District, second only in size to the dome of the Kotmale Maha Seya in Nuwara Eliya District, Central Province, Sri Lanka, with a towering height and diameter of 33 meters. The Stupa’s modern aesthetic features a single, Bo-Tree-like central column supporting a large and easily accessible inner hall, symbolizing the universal axis and the world tree. In celebration of the military victory over separatist forces, Ven. Gangasiripura Dhammaloka Thera—a staunch supporter of President Mahinda Rajapaksa—launched the initiative. The English rendering of the term “Sandagiri” is “forested mountain” or “heap on a hill,” which perfectly describes this enormous dome nestled in the green Hanthana Range woods.

Uncommon places to visit in Kandy

Discover the city’s lesser-known areas and explore Kandy’s hidden gems for a unique and distinctive experience.

Kallebokka 360 Viewpoint

Kallebokka degree viewpoint is in between the districts of Matale and Kandy, sharing a ridge with Hunnasgiriya Mountain and Hathale Mini-World’s End. The ridge runs north and joins the Knuckles massif to the west. The Central Highlands, Kandy City, Sembuwatte Lake, and the Knuckles Mountains are breathtaking sights on days with no clouds. There are two estate bungalows and a camping area for guests to stay in among the stunning views. That is because it is a misty area in the afternoons. So, it is best to visit in the morning for unhindered views.

Hindagala Raja Maha Viharaya

Standing on a scenic rock close to Peradeniya University along Galaha Road, Hindagala Raja Maha Viharaya has rock writings that date back to the sixth century. The paintings on the temple walls cover a variety of eras. The written texts on the temple walls tell the story of the temple’s past. The cave shrine, a part of the Udapalatha Division of the Kandy District, is about 1.5 kilometers from Peradeniya University on top of a hill with a panoramic view of the Mahaveli River valley. This historic hilltop, which requires a challenging climb, once belonged to meditative monks during pre-Christian days.

Rock writings from the 7th century A.D. and ancient artwork from the same era vividly depict Buddha’s encounter with the God Indra at the Indrasala cave in Magadhadesa. The term “Hindagala” is believed to stem from “Indasala” or “Hindasala.” The vihara underwent more advancements in the Kandyan period in the fourteenth century. According to legend, Queen Henekanda Biso Bandara played a part in the design of the Buddha statue’s sleeping position inside the cave.

Degaldoruwa Raja Maha Vihara

Degaldoruwa Raja Maha Vihara is a Buddhist rock temple in the Kandy province of Sri Lanka. King Rajadhi Rajasinha built this in 1771 AD. 

Three separate chambers make up the temple as follows:

  1. The Drumming Hall

This hall is oddly attached to the main building.

2. The Image House

This chamber is famous for having a preserved moonstone and colorful paintings that depict scenes from four Jātaka tales that tell the stories of Buddha’s previous lives.

The sacred space 

This space is home to an enormous statue of his reclining form. The temple is famous for its Kandyan Era paintings and historic murals dating back to the Kandyan Kingdom. 

This temple transforms from a historical site into a fascinating trip through time and a Buddhist narrative for guests.

Galmaduwa Raja Maha Viharaya

This temple is a hidden gem for historians looking for a peaceful journey. The historic Galamaduwa Raja Maha Viharaya is located in Kalapura Village in the Kandy province of Sri Lanka. The temple is well-known for its fantastic roof artwork and architecture, built during the reign of Kandy’s last ruler, Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe. Its strange similarity to a Hindu Kovil, created by merging Piyo rocks, gives its historical relevance a distinct twist. This temple offers a peaceful and culturally exciting experience for people who desire to explore abandoned regions with a rich past.

Wrapping up…

Sri Lanka’s Kandy beckons with a wealth of attractions. The city beautifully blends nature and history. You do not miss the breathtaking Kandy and its wealth of culture everywhere you look. A trip to Sri Lanka would only be complete with taking in the magical beauty of Kandy places to visit.

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