"Capital of Hill Country" Kandy by Oscar_Nonis

Kandy Travel Guide: 357 reviews and 935 photos


The name Kandy is derived from the abbreviated and the anglicised form of Kande-uda-rata. For the convenience of pronunciation the Englishmen first dropped the uda-rata portion and kande quite conveniently ended up in the nice form Kandy. The city was founded towards the beginning of the 16th century by a sub-king named Wickramabahu who ruled from Gampola. According to an interesting legend the city was founded on the advice of a Brahmin named Senkanda who showed to the king an incident wherein a jackal pursuing a hare as its quarry all of a sudden had their roles reversed when hare became the hunter pursuing the jackal as the quarry.

The Brahmin advised the king that as this incident indicated this spot to be a 'victory ground', a Jayabhoomi, to build a town there. The king readily agreed and began work with that particular spot as the centre, where the present Natha Devale stands. Thus was born the beautiful City of Kandy earning it's alternative name Senkadagala from the Brahmin name

The flat stone slab marking the Brahmin's cave can still be seen on a side of the wooded path to Udawattakelle. Extensively beautified by the lovely Kandy Lake the town is surrounded by a group of misty hills such as Hantana, Bahirava Kanda, Hunnasgiriya and other ranges thereby offering first-class scenic views from any of these ranges. The Rajapihilla Mawatha running along the Hantane range above the Lake, offers several spots from where one can have a commanding view of the entire city of Kandy spread out like a map. Epigraphical evidence goes to prove that, as a part of the Malaya country of the Trisinhale, Kandy was used by the Sinhala royalty as a place of security against the European invaders, because the area was safely protected by the three-fold obstructions of mountains, forests and rivers (giri-, vana - and jala-durga), all provided by nature itself.

Our history shows us how the country had been plagued by foreign invasions from the beginning of its history. Its first capital Anuradhapura came to an end with Mahinda V in the 10th -11th century Ad while Polonnaruwa had the same story with Kalinga Wijayabahu in the 13th century. Subsequently, owing to the maritime provinces being occupied by European powers, the Sinhala royalty had to keep on shifting the seat of royalty to Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Gampola, Kotte, Sitawaka ending up in Kandy in the 16th century.

With internal troubles also sapping its strength the Sinhala royalty became checkmated in Kandy in 1815, which was their last hideout. Kandy unlike the other ancient capitals of Sri Lanka is a city that gets renewed eternally without divorcing itself completely from its past. The sacred temple of the Tooth Relic coupled with the lovely Lake and the scenic beauty of the surroundings, Kandy attracts admirers from the world over.

Kandy is the Sri Lanka's hill capital, stronghold of the Sinhala Kings as well as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is 488 metres above sea level and next to Colombo is Sri Lanka's most visited place. The valley of Kandy is surrounded by hills and a colourful pageant takes place in Kandy annually. Visit Kalapuraya in the beautiful Dumbara valley 8 km. from Kandy, where descendants of the ancient craftsmen still create items of rare elegance in metal and wood.

Temple of Tooth Relic

Kandy, the last capital of Sinhala kings, nestled in the foothills of the Hill Country, with its beautiful lake at the center, is the center of traditional Sri Lankan Culture.
Kandy, the anglicization of the Sinhala word kande, meaning "hill" is about 1600 feet (488 meters) above sea level and is the favorite city of travelers from all over the world. The sacred tooth of Lord Buddha is preserved here in it's own temple "Dalada Maligawa" ( The temple of the Tooth ) and a replica of this holy relic is paraded around the city, on the back of the chief elephant "Raja", for two weeks every year during the month of August. Esala Perahera or the parade during the month of Esala is a spectacle not to be missed, with hundreds of brightly decorated elephants, dancers and singers from all walks of life, who turn this normally quiet small town to into one enormous festival,

Tourist attraction

Annual procession at the Temple of the Tooth Relic is going around the city of kandy in the month of July

  • Last visit to Kandy: Mar 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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