Be it rail or road, the journey to Kandy is certainly an enthralling one. About a three and a half hour drive away from the commercial capital, Colombo, this ancient city is set amidst awe-inspiring mountain ranges and it is not hard to see why this once mighty citadel is the hill capital of Sri Lanka. Vacations to the island would not be complete without a visit here. You can either plan an adventure to Kandy on your own or enlist the services of local tour specialists like Walkers Tours who will organise the trip for you.
The city of Kandy may cover a large area, but the main town is relatively small and can get congested especially on weekends. However, it also means that it is easy to explore with some major attractions within easy reach of the town. Foremost of these would undoubtedly be the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Right in the heart of Kandy and beside a lake, this historic attraction is where one can find the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Those visiting during the famous Esala Perahera (held yearly generally during July or August) can witness even more traditions and customs tied in with this scared relic along with colourful pageantry that includes street processions featuring elephants.
For an escape into nature, you can look to walk from this temple to the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. This relatively small patch of forest was once the site of a royal park, but today is open to the public. It is a great place to spend the day walking along paths that take you past ancient trees. In the stillness, you will hear and see all kinds of birds and if you are lucky may even spot mouse deer and even wild boars. For more of nature, plan a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya which has some wonderfully landscaped gardens and trees from other countries too. It is a great spot for a family picnic or even if you want to enjoy some quietude amidst lush landscapes.
Of course, there is a modern side to Kandy as well. The town is home to a mall called the Kandy City Centre where you will find shops selling everything from clothes to electronics. Once you have had your fill of shopping, step outside the mall and take a short walk to the Kandy Lake. Amidst the shaded pathways, soak up the atmosphere of this grand city in the hills that still has a unique old world charm.
Auburn Silver is a travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.