Kandy, situated in the hill country of Sri Lanka is the last ancient Kingdom. Best known for its famed Temple of Tooth, the city has a lot more to offer including stunning landscapes, ancient temples, unique crafts and cuisine, colonial heritage buildings and a unique culture that’s treasured by its people.

The last capital of the ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka, Kandy is described by many as a place of wonder and enchantment. This can be attributed to its interesting past. Secluded from the rest of the country, the city remained in power for nearly 2500 years until the British captured it in 1815. Kandy has encountered many challenges and changes during its history, including inheriting a mix of multicultural dimensions. The last dynasty married south Indian elite, whilst post colonisation by the British there were many intermarriages between them and the locals. Although the city is predominantly Sinhalese, due to this, it has acquired its own subtle yet deep Kandyan demographic. Today Kandy, called ‘Maha Nuwara’ meaning great city /capital by the locals, is the second largest city in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Situated at the gateway to the central highlands, just over 100 kms from Colombo, Kandy is a major transport hub having access from all parts of the country.

The city is surrounded by the Knuckles and Hantana mountain ranges with Udawatte Kele Sanctuary and Kandy Lake taking centre stage. The city’s higher elevation - at nearly 500 metres above sea level - contributes to its unique climate that is moderate and appealing with a low of 18°C and a high of 28°C. It is still tropical with a high level of humidity. The city experiences rain throughout the year with a dry spell during the months of January to April. The rich heritage of Kandy boasts of beautiful colonial architecture including Queens Hotel, Cargills building and many more examples dotted around the city. However, Kandy’s main highlight for visitors is undoubtedly the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is a famous pilgrimage site for the local majority Buddhists.

Other places of interest here include the Royal Botanical Gardens, Udawatte Kele Sanctuary, the well-maintained British Garrison Cemetery and St Pauls Church, as well as two interesting temples situated just outside Kandy - Gadaladeniya and Lankathilake. Kandy has been a centre of education and research for many years. The city is renowned for handloom textiles and jewellery studded with the island’s famous semi-precious and precious stones. It is also a city of sporting traditions going back centuries. Today sport is well served with rugby grounds, two international standard cricket grounds and a golf course. While this laid-back city is not really meant for shoppers, it does have a few quaint shopping arcades that are great for a quick purchase of souvenirs and gift items.

Kandyans have their own twist to Sri Lankan cuisine that is often exclusive to the region. The city offers a combination of boutique accommodation - from heritage properties (originally the homes of Kandyan elites, now lovingly restored) - to upmarket hotels – to modern boutique properties with Kandyan architectural and design twists. Kandy can be included in most itineraries, especially if you are travelling to Sri Lanka for the first time. Two nights in this charming city is ideal to embrace its beauty and rich heritage before departing to the highlands or the ‘Cultural Triangle’.


Here are sample itineraries featuring UNESCO heritage city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. Click below to read more about things to do in Kandy and accommodation in Kandy or get in touch to receive a detailed, tailor made itinerary for your Sri Lanka holiday. 


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