Kandy is Sri Lanka’s Hill Capital, and the last Kingdom of Sinhalese, nestled in the mountains 1600 ft above the sea level. It is one of the most fascinating spellbinding towns in the country known for its scenic beauty and rich cultural value. Spread over an area of around 1940 square kilometres, and it is counted amongst the world heritage sites of UNESCO. The city promises a number of tourist attractions.
It is a fascinating sight to enjoy the dreamy drives & walks around the Kandy Lake & upper lake drive, & the Kandyan Arts Association & the Laksala in the cold evenings in Kandy.
If you pay a visit to the city, you have to go to the Royal Botanical Garden that boasts of several tropical foliage. It is intriguing to know that the garden once served as the regional headquarters for the allied forces at the time of the Second World War.
Kandy has earned the reputation of being Sri Lanka’s temple city based on numerous temples and shrines that form an integral part, lending it a unique character. Temples are decorated with complex wooden carvings of musicians, dancers, birds, wrestlers and beasts.
The genius of the Kandyan master craftsmen is very obvious in these temples, whereby Gadaladeniya Viharaya is built of stone, the nearby Lankatilaka Viharaya and its Devale are built of clay bricks with a unique architectural design; Embekke Devale is built of wood while the mysterious Galengolla Potgul Viharaya with its valuable ola leaf manuscripts has a cover-up in the style of Florentine rebirth and its interior resembles a Christian basilica with cupola (dome) and octagonal pillars.
Kandy offers an exciting shopping experience with souvenirs ranging from precious stones and handmade laces to stone and wooden carvings. If you visit the city in the month of August, you can get a taste of Kandy Esala Perehera, an annual legendary ritual of the Temple of the sacred tooth Relic of Lord Buddha which is one of the oldest continuing living pageants in the entire world for over 2500 years.
Dating as back as the 14th Century, over 500 year Old Royal Palace of Kandy is a treat for sore eyes and a treasure trove for history lovers. On one hand, you have the Queen’s chambers and quarters of the concubines and on the other, there are the armoury and council chambers, Royal Court etc,...
Very little of the original structure remains today as it was destroyed by the British after 1815. But compared to what is remaining today you can imagine how grandeur it must have been with the full structure in the past.
The famous Golden Roofed “ Dalada Maligawa” Temple of the sacred tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, consists the sacred relic of Lord Buddha’s tooth because of which Kandy is regarded as one of the most sacred places by Buddhists all around the world.
The lake also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk, is artificial and was created in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha, the last ruler of the kingdom of Kandy. It has a perimeter of 3.4 kilometres (2.1 miles) and a maximum depth of 60 feet. A decorative wall, called Walakulu Bamma (Cloud wall), runs for 2060 feet along the banks of the Kandy Lake. It extends around half of the lake and has taken one skilled architect to build it. Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe was unable to complete the wall before the city was captured by the British in 1815 and he was forced to relinquish the Kandian kingdom. The Walakulu Bamma still lies unfinished. The triangular shaped holes in the wall were used in the past for lighting oil lamps on festival days.
In the middle of the lake is an island housing the Royal Summer House which was used by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha. But After 1815 the British used it as an ammunition store and added the fortress-style parapet around the perimeter. On the south shore, in front of the Malwatte Maha Vihara, the circular enclosure is the monks’ bathhouse.
Over the years, it was reduced in size. It is a protected lake, with fishing banned. There are many legends and folklore regarding the lake which you will get to hear from our specialist tour guides in your tour.
Sri Dalada Maligawa, or Temple of the Tooth Relic, is located beside the lake across the road. On the opposite side of the road from the Temple of the Tooth Relic is the Royal Bathhouse, which is used by the king's wives and concubines as a bathhouse. The British added one more storey to the structure to house a library.
The Ambakke Viharaya deserves more of exploring and admiring than just a quick glance through. Located around 8 miles from the Kandy city center, the temple offers an excellent insight into the medieval style of architecture adopted in Sri Lanka. Some of the finest examples of wood carvings can be witnessed here.
The UNESCO has identified these marvellous but elaborate carvings on wooden pillars to be the finest products of woodcarvings to be found in any part of the world.
Almost every nook and corner of the temple has been embellished with exemplary wooden
carvings. Among the most notable ones are those found on the capital pillars throughout
the temple. These are the Hansa Puttuwa and double headed eagles, soldier fighting on
horseback, bird with human figure, combination of elephant-bull and elephant-lion, female
dancing figures and others.
Also noticeable is the interesting shape given to the squares, which take the form of a square from which a leaf like figure emerges. The temple consists of the main sanctum, the Diggie and the Drummer’s Hall, each having a specific role to play in the entire scheme of things, so to say. This place combines the best of art and architecture in wood, and offers to the travelers a first class journey into the medieval carpentry in Sri Lanka.
At an elevation of 3567 feet, on the summit of Ambuluwawa peak that rises just four Kilometres from the Ancient Gampola kingdom, established by the great Sinhala King Buvanekabahu IV. (1341-1357 AD).
Biodiversity at Ambuluwawa has a more complexed expansion than that of the common examples of biodiversity. Ambuluwawa is a rock mountain but it is different trom rock mountains commonly seen in Sri Lanka . It is made of special type of rock known as "Inselberg" and is least subject to erosion caused by natural forces.
Ambuluwawa was recently renovated and re built as a symbol of religious harmony in Sri
Lanka. Thus now you can find a temple , a church , a Hindu kovil and a mosque there.
The great thing is you can go to the top of the Dagoba in the mountain giving you a feeling of being in the sky.
Although not considered a top tourist attraction in Sri Lanka it does attract some tourists and everyday lots of locals visit there.
The Gadaladeniya temple is located in a small flat rocky hilltop, but can be easily reached from the main road. It was built by king Wickramabahu in 1344 during the Gampola Kingdom period.
Faded paintings from around that time provide many clues as to the manner in which the
temple was built. The art is South Indian, so the general belief is that the workers were
also brought down from abroad. The chief architect of this temple had been a South Indian
called Ganesvarachari. Therefore, this temple is essentially a South Indian design. The
frescoes and interior sculptures belonged to Kandyan period depicting Jataka stories of
Lord Buddha, also seems to be fading.
The entrance to Gadaladeniya features large stone pillars, which support a roof of huge stone slabs. The 638-year-old jak-wood doors still exhibit their original paintings. The chamber within the Sikhara (dome) has had a Buddha image, which had been destroyed by the Portuguese.
You'll be amazed by the beauty of this temple when you visit the place.
The majestic Lankathilake Vihare, believed to be one of the most magnificent architectural edifices in the Gampola kingdom, was built at the crest of a large rock named Panhalgala overlooking the Hantane mountain range in the Hiripitiya hamlet in Udunuwara.
The history of the temple dates back to the 14th century, and a pre-colonial Lanka where several strong kingdoms ruled the land. At a time when the capital of the Sinhalese kingdom was Kurunegala, that era drew to a close when the Sinhalese kings decided on setting up the new kingdom at Gampola, a safe stronghold on the bank of the Mahaweli River.
King Buwanekabahu IV who reigned from 1341 to 1351 A. D. chose Gampola as his kingdom and constructed this Viharaya with the help of a South Indian architect Sthapati Rayar. Following Buwanekabahu IV, five consecutive kings chose Gampola as their kingdom. Though the kings of Gampola were not powerful warriors, they had a high calibre for art and culture and have made significant contributions to art.
The main Vihare has been built using granite with a plaster covering, has three storeys built on natural rock. Elegant architectural design and wall paintings rich in colours of the Kandyan period, adorn the inside walls and the ceiling of the main image house.
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