An overview of Kandy
Kandy is one of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious and famous cities, both in terms of its historical and cultural significance. Located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka and hidden within the island’s hilly countryside, Kandy was the last kingdom of Sri Lanka to fall to colonialism. In addition to its sheer beauty, the city of Kandy is known for being the home of the Sri Dalada Maligawa – the famous temple where the Lord Buddha’s tooth is currently located.
Home to over a 125,000 of Sri Lankans, Kandy is one of the island’s top 10 most populous cities. The city’s name is English in origin, however, it is derived from the Sinhala phrase, “Kanda Uda Rata”, meaning “the land of the mountain” and the Spanish concoction, “Candea”. However, in the Sinhala language of today, Kandy is referred to as “Maha Nuwara”, which means “Great City”. As the final city and kingdom to fall to colonialism, Kandy remains one of the beacons of pride for Sri Lankans, both within Kandy and around the country. King Vikramabahu III was initially credited with establishing the city of Kandy between 1357–1374 CE. At the time, Vikramabahu was the monarch of the Kingdom of Gampola, near the Watapuluwa area, north of the present city, and named Senkadagalapura at the time.
The city of Kandy and its surrounding areas witnessed rapid growth, given the region’s reputation for its cultural significance – given that vast numbers of local and international tourists visiting the city. With an elevation of 465 metres (1,526 ft) above sea level, Kandy has many scenic sites that attract local and international tourists from around the world. The Peradeniya Garden located within the city’s vicinity further complements city’s multitude of attributes and benefits, making Kandy a destination that not only draws tourists as a result of its cultural value, but also due to its aesthetic value. A quick view of Kandy and its surroundings could take you to the neighbouring University of Peradeniya and the Botanical Gardens, in close proximity, for you to get an even more enhanced view of the region’s beauty.
While Colombo holds many of the country’s economic value, Kandy also has significant clout as the island nation’s second-largest city and the capital of Central Province of Sri Lanka. Colombo may have most of the major headquarter sites, however, given Kandy’s close proximity to one of the best universities in Sri Lanka, the University of Peradeniya, many major corporations and industry leaders have established large branch offices within the city Kandy. These industries include the textiles, gemstone, furniture, information technology, and jewellery industries.
In terms of demographics, Kandy is predominantly Sinhala Buddhist, with a population that comprises of more than 70.5%, followed by Sri Lankan Moors who comprise nearly 11%, and Sri Lankan Tamils who comprise around 11% of the city’s total population. The city’s overall diversity is far lower than what you may find in other cosmopolitan areas, like Colombo, however, this is largely due to the fact that Kandy is a predominantly Buddhist-oriented city.
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