A KanCanDo Guide to What to see in Kandy
This article is a long awaited one and one which I have been working on for some time. The article covers, What to see and do in Kandy. I will write another article soon which will cover Where to eat in Kandy and a few recommendations on where to stay in Kandy depending on your budget.
About Kandy: Location and how to get to Kandy
Kandy is located towards the centre of the Island of Sri Lanka, seen in the map below. The city resides on the foot hills of the central hills, at an elevation of 465 meters above sea level.
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Kandy is located around 115KM from the capital city Colombo. Kandy can be reached from Colombo on the A1 Colombo - Kandy highway by your own means of transport or through the use of public transport. There are many bus routes that run between Colombo and Kandy, as well as a train service that runs between Colombo and Kandy.
Journey by bus or car can take anywhere between 3-4 hours, as around 30% of the journey will be up long winding mountain roads. Below is a video I shot of the road journey from Colombo to Kandy.
The Colombo - Kandy trains run from the Fort railway station in Colombo, a time table for the train services can be found here - http://colombofort.com/timetable.htm . There are several variations of the service offered. Train travel is rather inexpensive in the standard classes, that said you would probably get a better view of the scenery if you travelled on the observation cart. For those who want a bit of luxurry then there is always the luxary services offered by expo rail, more information can be found here - http://www.exporail.lk/
Below is a video I found on YouTube, once again thank you to the original uploader! The video gives you a good idea of what you will see and experience on a trip from Colombo to Kandy on standard class.
There are also steam train services that are run depending on demand, this is called the Viceroy Special, you can find out more information on how to arrange a journey on this service through the following website. http://www.jftours.com/train-tours/viceroy-vintage-train-tours/
I also found a video on YouTube that will give you an idea of what to expect with this service.
About Kandy: Breif History
Kandy is the last of Sri Lankas Royal cities, established in the 15th Century, and ruled by Kandiyan kings until the handover to the British in the year 1815.
I found this interesting video which talks you through some of Kandys history, thank you to the original uploader / creator. I would recommend that you watch it as it is very informative.
What to see in Kandy
I have compiled the below map with the exact location of 16 places of interest in and around Kandy, each of which I would highly recommend.
View Kandy - What to see in a larger map
Below are some of the places of interest in more detail.
Sri Dalada Maligawa (The Temple of the Tooth)
The temple of the tooth is also one of the World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka. The temple is visited by thousands of both local and forigne tourists and pilgrims each day, and can get very very busy. (please refer to the map). Please see here my album of pictures from The Temple of the Tooth, taken in Dec 2012.
Kandy International Buddhist Museum
Please see here my album of pictures from out side Kandy Lake, taken in Dec 2012. The museum does not allow photography inside the building unfortunately. For more information visit the Museums website here - http://ibm.sridaladamaligawa.lk/.
Bahirawa Kanda temple
Located above the city of Kandy, this omnipresent giant Buddha statue can be seen from anywhere in the town. What more, you get stunning panoramic views of the city and the surrounding country side. It is located within the city limits and is easily accessible both via foot or your preferred mode of transport (please refer to the map).
Hantana Tea Museum
Within a short distance from the City centre (please refer to the map) this tea factory which has been converted into a museum is certainly a must go destination if you are in Kandy, specially if you are a tea lover! You can get guided tours of the whole process of how tea is made, as well as learn about and sample the different types of tea. For more information visit - http://www.ceylonteamuseum.com/about.html
Udawatta kele Forest Reserve
Commonwealth War Cemetery
For a more exact location please refer to the map. Unfortunately I was unable to photograph this point of interest, here are some photos that I have found on Flikr. The cemetery is part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, contains 195 graves of those who lost their lives during attacks on ceylon during the world wars. More information can be found here
Kandy City Centre
Located above the city on Rajapilla Mawatha (please refer to the map), provides stunning panoramic views of the city. I would certainly recommend this place to anyone who wishes to get some good photos of the lake and Temple of the tooth from a far. Please see here my album of pictures from Arthurs Seat, taken in Dec 2012.
British Garrison Cemetery
The British Garrison Cemetery is a a small Anglican graveyard, located just behind the Temple of the Tooth (please refer to the map). It was established in in 1817 for the British army just after the British takeover of Kandy. Please see here my album of pictures from the British Garrison Cemetery, taken in Dec 2012. For more information on the Cemetery I would recommend reading this article by the BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14984188