Tours of Sri Lanka – 24 Hours in Kandy
Characteristic of Sri Lanka’s timeless old world charm, the city of Kandy is a stunning ode to the country’s illustrious past and a testament to its bright future. On your tour of Sri Lanka, heading to the Hill Country is, therefore, a must.
Once a famous kingdom in ancient Sri Lanka, the city now hosts some of the country’s most famous religious and cultural sights. In a keen attempt to keep up with modernity, however, Kandy is also replete multi-storey shopping malls, luxurious hotels, and chic eateries; all without causing too much disturbance to the city’s old-timey quality.
While a lifetime probably wouldn’t be enough to marvel in the city’s beauty, 24 hours is more than enough to explore its finest sites, in between breaks of piping hot milk tea – a staple in the Sri Lankan diet.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the must-visits on your tour of Sri Lanka, specifically for anyone who finds themselves with a day to spend in the capital of the Hill Country!
The Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth)
Believe it or not, the Temple of the Tooth is the sacred resting spot of one of the country’s most treasured relics – the tooth of Lord Buddha himself.
Whether you’re religiously inclined or not, the site is a great place to observe the religious practices of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist population, many of whom flock to the Temple in great numbers every year. Before you head in, make sure you’re clad in a modest outfit of white and purchase fragrant blooms lotus, frangipani or jasmine as a joyful offering.
Once there, make it a point to attend a tevava ceremony, which is a colourful affair of music, traditional dancing, and chanting, all of which leads to the opening of the inner chamber which holds the sacred tooth. Information and timing for the ceremonies can be found here.
The Royal Botanical Gardens
Your tour of Sri Lanka would also not be complete without experiencing the rich environmental heritage the Kandyans enjoy.
Located a short 6 kilometres away in Peradeniya, the Royal Botanical Gardens is the perfect place for a romantic stroll or an all-out Instagram photoshoot that will have your followers double-tapping you post in envy.
With its Hollywood-esque avenue of palm trees and innumerable species of flora dotting quaint sidewalks, the gardens are a lush escape from the hubbub of urban life. Renowned for its stunning collection of orchids, the site’s origins can be traced back to as early as 1371.
Once a site of worship in times past, the temple was destroyed at the hands of colonial forces and converted into botanical gardens in 1843.
The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue
Located a short distance away from Peradeniya, the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue peers serenely at the historic city beneath.
Prepare not just to be dwarfed and amazed at this stunning monument but also witness breathtaking panoramic views of Kandy. 88 feet in height, the monument can only be accessed by making your way up the hill where the vihare is located – a sight not to be missed on your tour of Sri Lanka.
If you don’t have the time to make your way here, though, there’s still hope. The serene Buddha statue is so large and magnificent, it can be seen from just about any spot in the city of Kandy.
Stroll around the Kandy Lake
In the evening, one of the best ways to unwind is to take a pleasant stroll around the Kandy Lake. Don’t be fooled by the serene waters and gently swaying Tabebuia Rosea trees, though – the site was once the spot where the last king of Sri Lanka, King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, drowned half the family of a runaway official.
On your walk, you can catch sights of the city and other historical monuments, including the Bathing Pavilion of the last queen of the country.