Kandy… How many times have we heard and seen this name on yellow tea packaging? But today’s article isn’t about tea, it’s about the majestic and ancient city of Sri Lanka. Situated about 100km from Colombo, Kandy is practically in the heart of the island. The city of Kandy, not always called so, used to be known as the “Capital of Growing Splendour”. Since the name is so long, it didn’t stick with the locals and a little later it was renamed Kandy.

A bit of history. Robert Knox

Sri Lanka (Ceylon), the city of Kandy itself remained a mystery to Europeans for a long time. Europeans were afraid of the locals, their strange rituals, mysterious rituals. Few primary sources have survived describing the lives of the locals, but one description, dating from 1815, by a certain Robert Knox, a British sailor, is considered the best description of local life. Robert Knox spent a full 20 years on the island, he was captured by the local authorities the moment he entered the island. After his escape, he wrote A Historical Sketch of Ceylon, which to this day is considered to be virtually the only authentic description of life in Kandy and the Kandyans. 

As we said above, Knox spent 20 years in captivity on the island. His stay was quite comfortable and it can’t quite be considered captivity as we imagine it. On the island he was allowed to be a merchant, to marry, to have his own household. Knox was in no hurry to start a family, for all the time he was hatching the idea of escape, and a family could be detrimental to that. 

In his book, Knox describes the locals as kind, open, friendly people. They are simple, understanding, uncluttered and greedy.

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What to see in the city?

Kandy is a shrine to Buddhists, with temples and monuments that speak of the life of Buddha at every turn. Apart from the shrine for Buddhists, there are many other attractions to be seen in the city, further on in the article we will break down what is a must-see in the city.

Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth

From the name of the temple one can understand who the temple is dedicated to, but let us tell you more about its history. Legend has it that the Buddha, after passing away, was cremated and only 4 of his teeth have survived, one of which is kept in this temple. Originally there was no temple on this site, there was a small sarcophagus with the shrine. The believers thought it was treachery and made a proposal to erect an entire temple on the site of the sarcophagus. Buddhists are saintly believers that the tooth possesses unprecedented power and might, so attempts have been made to steal, destroy, tamper with and even blow it up on several occasions. All tourists are now screened at the entrance to the temple and allowed to enter the grounds in small groups.

Surprisingly, it is impossible to get close to the tooth of Buddha, it is hidden from the eyes of tourists behind several walls. Generally speaking, one can count on the fingers of those who have seen the tooth ‘in person’. If you decide to visit the Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth, the best time is from 6 am to 10 am. That’s when the religious Buddhist puja ritual takes place. It is quite a breathtaking sight in terms of beauty and pomp. 

The Royal Palace is the second most must-see attraction in Kandy

The Royal Palace in Kandy is the last palace that was built on the island. Dating back to the 14th century, little remains of the original palace today. While the walls have been restored several times, the interior decoration in many of the rooms has been preserved since the 14th century! The palace is now used as a historical museum and important state ceremonies and events are held there.

Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Vihara Temple – the third must-see attraction

The Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Vihara Temple is Sri Lanka’s most beautiful temple and is home to the largest statue of a walking Buddha. The temple is located in a green area, so it is impossible for unaccompanied tourists to find it.

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Peradeniya Garden

We have already introduced you to this beautiful garden in an article, link to add the article. The Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya is a true work of art, most of which was created by nature itself and man has only touched and embellished the creation of nature. The best traditions from all over the world have been collected in the park. Almost 60 hectares are planted with about 5,000 plants from all over the world. Just imagine all the riot of colours and shades of green when the park begins to blossom. You can’t describe it, you just have to see it with your own eyes. 


Kandy is definitely worth a visit if you come to Sri Lanka. If you’re planning a trip to explore the city, make sure you allow at least two or three days to enjoy it to the fullest. Be sure to visit the sacred sites as they are places of strength for millions of people and will energise and inspire you for months to come.

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