is the English name for the city of Maha Nuvara (Senkadagalapura) in the centre
of Sri Lanka. It is the capital of the Central Province and Kandy District. It
lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy Valley which crosses an area of tropical
plantations, mainly tea.
While in Sri Lanka a tour of Kandy is Must. Travel & Culture services offers
several options check our
Tour an ideal tour of 3 days to Kandy
Hotels in Kandy
Hill Top The Charming Hotel Comprises a Total of 81 Double Rooms Spread Over
3 Floors. Guests Are Welcomed Into the Lobby Area With a 24-Hour Reception
Kandy - History
Historical records suggest that Kandy was first established by the King
Wickramabahu (1357-1374 CE) near the Watapuluwa area, north of the present city,
and named Senkadagalapura at the time, although some scholars suggest the name
Katubulu Nuwara may also have been used. The origin of the more popular name for
the city, Senkadagala, could have been from a number of sources. These include
naming after a brahmin named Senkanda who lived in a cave near the city, after a
queen of King Wickramabahu named Senkanda or after a colored stone named
Senkadagala. The present name Kandy, an anglicized version of Kanda Uda Rata
("the land of mountains") originated in the colonial era.
1592 Kandy became the capital city of the last remaining independent kingdom in
Sri Lanka after the coastal regions had been conquered by the Portuguese.
Invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch (16th, 17th and 18th century) and also
by the British (most notably in 1803) were repelled. The last ruling dynasty of
Kandy were the Nayaks of Kandy. Kandy preserved its independence until it
finally fell to the British in 1815. The British deposed the king, Sri Wikrama
Rajasingha, and all claimants to the throne, thus ending the last traditional
monarchy of Sri Lanka, and replaced it with their monarchy.
View of the lake from Rajapihilla Mawatha, on the right the golden roof of
the Temple of the Tooth, top left a Toque MacaqueAs the capital, Kandy had
become home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha which symbolises a
4th-century tradition that used to be linked to royalty since the protector of
the relic was seen fit to rule the land. Thus, the Royal Palace and the Temple
of the Tooth were associated with the administrative and religious functions of
the capital city. Even after its conquest by the British, Kandy has preserved
its function as the religious capital of the Sinhalese and a place of pilgrimage
for Buddhists, namely those belonging to the Theravada school.
Portuguese invasions in the 16th century and 17th century were entirely
unsuccessful. The kingdom tolerated a Dutch presence on the coast until 1761,
when Kirti Sri attacked and overran most of the coast, leaving only the heavily
fortified Negombo intact. When a Dutch retaliatory force returned to the island
in 1763, Sri abandoned the coastline and withdrew into the interior. When the
Dutch continued to the jungles the next year, they were constantly harassed by
disease, heat, lack of provisions, and Kandyan sharpshooters, who hid in the
jungle and inflicted heavy losses on the Dutch. The Dutch launched a better
adapted force in January of 1765, replacing their troops' bayonets with machetes
and using more practical uniforms and tactics suited to speedy movement. They
were initially successful, capturing the capital, but they took a deserted city,
and the Kandyans withdrew to the jungles once more, refusing to engage in open
battle. The Dutch, worn down by constant attrition, came to terms in 1766.
The city of Kandy lies at an altitude of about 500 m above sea level. Its
plan developed around two open spaces: an elongated square at the end of which
are the administration buildings of the old capital, and an artificial lake that
is quadrangular in form. A public garden adds to the openness of the city's
On the north shore of the lake, which is enclosed by a parapet of white stone
dating to the beginning of the 19th century, are the city's official religious
monuments, including the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth, known as the
Dalada Maligawa (daḷadā māligāva). Reconstructed in the 18th century, the
Dalanda Maligawa is built on a base of granite that was inspired by the temples
of Sri Lanka's former capital city, Anuradhapura. An array of materials
(limestone, marble, sculpted wood, ivory, etc.) contribute to the richness of
this temple. Throughout this small holy city, a number of recent Buddhist
monasteries can be found.
Kandy has now grown out to encompass Peradeniya, home to the University of
Peradeniya and the Botanical Gardens, Katugastota to the north, and east to
Kundasale, Tennekumbura and Gurudeniya.
World Heritage Site
The tooth sanctuaryThe monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of
construction that associates the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth
(palace of the tooth relic). It was one of a series of temples built in the
places where the relic, the actual palladium of the Sinhalese monarchy, was
brought following the various relocations of the capital city.
The Palace of the Tooth relic, the palace complex and the holy city of Kandy
are associated with the history of the dissemination of Buddhism. The temple is
the product of the last peregrination of the relic of the tooth of Buddha and
the testimony of a cult which continues to be practiced today.
Kandy is also popular because of the annual festival known as the Esala
Perahera (ˈɶsələ ˌperəˌhɶrə) in which one of the inner caskets used for covering
the tooth relic of Buddha is taken in a grand procession through the streets of
the city. This casket is taken on a tusker of royal caste. The procession
includes traditional dancers and drummers, flag bearers of the provinces of the
old Kandyan kingdom, the Nilames (lay custodians of temples ) wearing their
traditional dresses, torch bearers and also the grandly attired elephant. This
ceremony which is annually held in the months of July or August, attracts large
crowds from all parts of the country and also many foreign tourists
Kandy offers a variety of shopping destinations, ranging from colourful and
vibrant markets to exquisite boutiques. The Kandy City Centre shopping complex
is currently under construction.
Kandy has a modest range of restaurants, as well as an abundance of
confectionaries. A range of cuisines is available including Chinese, European,
Sri Lankan, Indian and some multinational fast food outlets.
Kandy offers a reasonable nightlife. Nightclubs are mainly found in Hotels,
but there are numerous bars and pubs in the city that have a more local
Peradeniya Botanical garden The Botanical Garden of Peradeniya is situated
about 5 km to the west of the city centre at Peradeniya and is visited by 1.2
million people per year.