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Kandy Perahera, the pageant of the temple of tooth where Buddha’s tooth is kept is held either in July or August each year to parade the golden caskets is a must see itenary if one is visiting Sri Lanka during these months. The final night procession is the most spectacular event of the country. More than 50 elephants parade the city accompanied by the drummers, dancers and chieftains.
he city established in the 15th century was the last royal capital where 2500 years of royal rule ended. This bustling market town is rich in cultural diversity has plenty of iteneries to offer to the tourists from songs dances and handy crafts to ancient temples and adventure activities. Kandy is a good transit point to the cultural triangle to the north or hill country to the south. The city is also a good source of souvenirs or to experience many cultural performances at it’s various hotels in the city.
Lying 115 km from Colombo, Kandy is Sri Lanka’s second biggest city and the capital of the central province. The busy town is situated in a valley at an elevation of 600m, inside a wide loop of the Mahaweli River and is surrounded by hills covered with tropical vegetation. Home to the Sri Dalada Maligawa – the beautiful temple that houses the tooth relic of Lord Buddha – Kandy is also a popular stop during July/August when the annual Esala Perehera (holy festival) takes to the streets of the city. The cool climate of the hills is a relief after the cloying heat of the lowlands, and the lovely Kandy Lake and the drives around it are set amidst great scenic beauty.
Kandy was a royal capital and the last stronghold of the Kandyan kings against foreign power, holding out against them for about 300 years. The two main Buddhist Chapters are based here and formed the last centre of independent Buddhist thought during colonial times. Much of the town’s charm lies in the higgledy-piggledy arrangement of its small shops. Many of the buildings are colonial and some are even older. Many of Sri Lanka’s arts and crafts flourish here, particularly the silver and brass crafts as well as jewellery in traditional designs. This market town is also the economic focus of the surrounding tea-producing central highlands.
Steeped in tradition and history, Kandy plays host to many thousands who come to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic, as it is taken in procession around the city, in a magnificent golden casket placed on the broad back of the Temple Tusker. The procession comprises over 100 caparisoned elephants, thousands of dancers, drummers, torchbearers and whip crackers. This magnificent, centuries-old procession is probably one of the oldest and most spectacular pageants in Asia.
The centrepiece of the town, Kandy Lake, is artificial and was created in 1807 by Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, last ruler of the Kingdom of Kandy. You will also see the little island in the middle of the lake, as you walk around. It used to be the King’s harem, but the more uninspired British maintained it as an ammunition depot. There are many walks you can take, such as up to the Royal Palace Park, and the Udawattakelle sanctuary. Sri Lanka’s largest Botanical Gardens (covering 60 hectares) is 6kms away and is open daily.