Kandy is known as the “Hill Capital”, the last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka under whose patronage the indigenous culture flourished for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815. Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage site, particularly famous for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, a famous pilgrimage site. Commonly known as the Dalada Maligawa, the temple is believed to house the left canine tooth retrieved from the Buddha’s funeral pyre. It is regarded as a symbolic representation of the living Buddha. Worshiping at the temple is believed to improve one’s karma immeasurably and the shrine receives a constant flow of worshipers and tourists alike.
Kandy is most popular for the spectacular annual pageant known as the Esala Perahera that takes place in July or August. The Perahera revolves around the Relic of the Tooth of the Buddha being carried through the city in a grand procession involving colorfully decked elephants, rhythmic drummers and acrobatic dancers, all of which combine to create a breathtaking spectacle of sights and sounds.
The importance of Kandy in the evolution of tea production in Ceylon cannot be understated. Given its locality nestled in the hills and in close proximity to the tea growing regions, Kandy was effectively the administrative capital for tea production at a time when modern transport and roadways had barely evolved even in the world’s leading business centers.
A visit to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela, about one hour & 30 minutes from Kandy, can be arranged as an add on to the Kandy program.
Kandy is a picturesque two-hour drive (each way) from Ceylon Tea Trails and a visit to this sacred city is recommended as a part of your holiday. Depart Ceylon Tea Trails at around 8am after a fortifying breakfast to get to Kandy by 10am. There is the option of taking the train, chugging through scenic tea country from Hatton station to Peradeniya, near Kandy and returning by van. Entrance to the Dalada Maligawa and Botanical Gardens is included. Depart Kandy at 4pm and unwind at Tea Trails with cocktails prior to a gourmet dinner.