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Kandy - Sri Lanka's Sacred City

Duration: Half Day

kandy - sri lanka's sacred city

Situated in the Indian Ocean, the beautiful island of Sri Lanka is renowned for its magnificent cultural and natural treasures. This tour will introduce you to the sacred city of Kandy, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka and the last capital of the Sri Lankan Kings. Botanical gardens, beautiful scenery, temples, museums and elephant bathing are just some of the highlights not to be missed during your holiday in Sri Lanka.

The picturesque city of Kandy was built around a beautiful lake amidst the lush green hills of the Kandy Valley. The town’s natural beauty has long enticed travellers to this part of the island, but it isn’t the only attraction to the area. Steeped in history, the city was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988. Kandy was the capital city of Sri Lanka from 1592 until the 19th century when it was conquered by the British, and it still retains influences of its colonial past after being conquered by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the Dutch in the 17th century and finally the British in 1815.

Kandyans are very proud of their rich cultural heritage, however, and their ancient traditions and Buddhist values still prevail. The city is renowned for its many beautiful shrines and temples, the most famous being the 16th century Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth). This historic shrine reputedly houses Sri Lanka’s most sacred religious relic – a tooth of the Lord Buddha. Kandy is also well known for its traditional, quality handicrafts and souvenirs. Spend time browsing the colourful markets for spices, antiques, batiks and some of the finest gems and jewellery on the island.

This tour will also lead you to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens along the Mahaweli River. This is the largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka and one of the most beautiful in Asia. Dating back to the reign of King Vikrama Bahu III in the 14th century, they were used as royal pleasure gardens before the British arrived. Stroll leisurely along the winding paths and marvel at the striking landscapes, which are adorned with lush vegetation, exotic trees, plants and brightly-coloured flowers, as well as bridges, pavilions, an orchard house and a beautiful ornamental lake.

If you visit Kandy in August you can observe one of Asia’s most colourful pageants, which is possibly the largest Buddhist celebration in the world – the annual Festival of Elephants (Esala Perahera). This elaborate, 10-day torchlight parade is a religious ceremony during which followers pray for good rains to cultivate the crops. The Sacred Tooth (one of Buddhism's most sacred relics) is transported from the Temple the Tooth and paraded through the streets with over 100 decorated elephants, accompanied by lively traditional dancers, acrobats, drummers, jugglers and fire-breathers.

This exciting cultural show will give you a wonderful insight into Sri Lanka’s colourful culture and ancient traditions.

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