The Heart of Sri Lanka: Kandy

Sri Lanka is a small island country.It doesn’t take much time to travel from one part of the country to another. Famous for its numerous tourist attractions, Kandy is a town located in the Central province of Sri Lanka. I was in a hurry while trying to scout the most famous locations in Kandy as I wanted to spend most of my time in the SouthernIMG_7023 part of the country. I had just a couple of days on hand to visit Kandy, Dambulla and Sigiriya. I will be writing about Dambulla and Sigiriya in my next post.

I had two days to visit the above-mentioned places and so I started off from Colombo early in the morning, to travel to Kandy via a local bus. Local buses in themselves are a wonderful experience in Sri Lanka.They reminded me of the local buses found in most of the Tier 2 cities in India, although a bit more organised in comparison. The key to finding a seat in such a bus is the timing. The sooner you get on the bus, the better are your chances to get a good seat. There were buses leaving for Kandy every half an hour as it’s a major tourist attraction near Colombo. After a 3 hour smooth ride filled with picturesque sceneries, I reached Kandy by 10 AM. Kandy is a small town located on the stunning Kandy Lake. Here are the main attractions within the city:

Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth):

Kandy is home to various cultures and religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Buddhism has been a major influence over most of the UNESCO sites for over five centuries. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic constitutes of the premiere Buddhist Institution of Sri Lanka and remains to be the cynosure of the Buddhist world. It’s one of the main attractions in the city and is incredibly beautiful. The relic is not only an important part of the History of Buddhism but also plays an important role in the political arena as it’s believed that whoever holds the power of the relic, controls the governance of the country. It’s a monument with a temple on the ground floor, decorated with a massive fully-grown elephant tooth. The second floor is where the main tooth relic has been established. The temple is usually extremely crowded not only due to its stand as a major tourist attraction but also because of its religious significance. A lot of people were waiting in long queues to perform the sacred rituals at the main building of the temple. The tourists were allowed to take pictures of the temple while standing in a separate line, which was further away from the main building. The temple is one of the best attractions in the country and reveals Sri Lanka’s true cultural splendour.

World Buddhist Museum Kandy:

This Museum was the World’s first International Buddhist Museum. It was a unique site and something completely new to me as most countries have Museums showcasing their own specific heritage and history but this Museum showcases the worldly heritage of Buddhism. So basically, this multi-storeyed Museum had several sections- showcasing the connection of Buddhism to countries all across the world. Every section is named after the country it belongs to and has their relevant themes. I am little aware of the details of Buddhism as a religion, but the Museum was a feast for the eyes.

It’s located just behind the famous Temple of the Tooth and is hard to miss. The Museum will welcome you with a huge statue of Lord Buddha at the gate, which had been gifted to the Museum by India. The Statue was supposed to act as a sign of unity and cultural heritage that the two neighbours share.

The Museum ticket costs 500 LR (2.5GBP) and is completely worth it, especially if you are interested in Buddhism.You can get to know a lot of new things about the religion, all under one roof and that is what makes this a pretty unique experience.

Kandy Lake and its Surroundings:

The Kandy Lake is a thing of pure beauty and bliss; with located just next to the Temple of the Tooth. The lake adds a special enamour to the town and makes it feel like a hill station. The town of Kandy is surrounded ring of hills and the Kandy Lake nestled in betweenand with the colossal Temple of the Tooth standing next to it, this just completes what I’d like to call a ‘perfect picture’. I was surprised to know that the lake is actually an artificial lake that was built by the King in 1807 AD. The King created this lake to work as the chief body of water within the Central provinces of Sri Lanka at that time. It’s a vast lake with a small garden platform erected in the middle of the lake. Fishing is prohibited and the water is kept clean as even the holy rituals of the temple aren’t allowed to spoil the lake. The restrictions make sense as the lake is man-made and the water doesn’t connect to any rivers nearby.

Take a Walk Around Town:

As boring as it may sound, this experience is bound to make you smile. When you walk around a small town, you get to closely observe its roadside marketplaces, tiny passes and alleyways, the delicious aroma of street food and the exquisiteness of endless local restaurants and cafes are extremely exciting to explore. Coming from India, all these sights reminded me of home. I ate at a couple of local places where the food was extremely inexpensive and particularly spicy. Sri Lankan food is on a completely different level of spiciness compared to Indian food. The use of chilli and coconut oil is mandatory in every dish so do be careful before you decide to try on an exotic local dish.

I spend about 4 hours in Kandy before taking a bus to Dambulla next. I spent less time in Kandy as the three major attractions were located right next to each other and travelling alone comes with the flexibility of leaving anytime I want. I hope you enjoyed the post.Do feel free to share your experience and feedback.

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