Kandy sits loftily astride the mountains of Sri Lanka’s Central Province. The city is surrounded by tea laden mountainsides and its center is marked by the scenic Kandy Lake. Cool hill country breezes sweep through the city often bringing rain and with it white mists. Sri Lanka’s longest river, the mighty Mahaweli, also makes an appearance in Kandy as it surges along providing sustenance for the nation’s agriculture industry. Perched on its banks is the Cinnamon Citadel Kandy, which blends Kandyan traditions with hospitality to give guests an authentic local experience.
Though it is one of the nation’s up and coming areas in terms of development, the region holds a prominent place in Sri Lanka’s history. It was once the ancient kingdom of King Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe, the country’s last monarch, and in its day it wielded power over the entire land. Several ancient traditions are still alive and well today with the region’s best known event being the dazzling Kandy Esala Perahera. The Perahera is a brightly lit procession that includes dancers, drummers, jugglers, musicians and elephants dressed in elaborate costumes. The center of attention is a majestic tusker that bears the sacred tooth relic on its back. The festivities last over ten days leading up to the Nikini full moon Poya day. Kandy hotels are packed during the months of July and August, with domestic and foreign tourists making the trip especially to witness the celebrations. The significance of the parade is to honour the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is otherwise housed in the Sri Dalada Maligawa, and its four ‘guardians’, the Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini. In recent times, animal rights activists have attempted to point out cruelty issues with regards to the elephants that are made to participate in the festivities.
Umanga Kahandawaarachchi is a passionate travel writer who writes under the pen name, Maggie Tulliver. Her field of writing covers a wide array of content and articles related to travel and hospitality industry.