Distance from Colombo: 116 km
Nestled in the foothills of the Hill country, the city of Kandy is the centre of traditional Sri Lanka's culture. The hill capital was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings, until the city fell to the British invasion in 1815. Natives call the city Mahanuwara, meaning the Great City. This perhaps is one of the most beautiful & scenic towns in the central province. It is 488 meters above sea level, and next to Colombo, is Sri Lanka's most visited place.
The sacred tooth of the Buddha, symbolic of sovereignty over the island is preserved here in its own temple know as the Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa. It is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sights for Buddhists all over the world. Every year during the period of Esela (August), the Tooth Relic is carried by a majestic tusker in a cultural pageant that makes its way slowly through the city streets for seven consecutive nights only to conclude on the day of the full moon. This colorful procession is known as the Kandy Perehara and is adorned by countless number of dancers, drummers, singers and ornamented elephants that are made luminescent in the night by lantern bearers. This perhaps is the only parade in the world that involves the highest number of elephants sometimes numbering over hundreds.
An attraction not to be missed on the way to Kandy is the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage. In order to protect this majestic animal, the Sri Lanka Government founded the orphanage in 1975 and today it is home for more than 3,00 elephants. The elephant heard in Pinnawala is regarded the biggest herd in captivity. The orphans both young, old and physically challenged, makes the journey to the river twice a day to splash about and cool off in the soothing water.
Kandy is an exciting place for shopping, with souvenirs in wood, copper, silver, brass, ebony, and bronze. Ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewelry and rush and reed-ware can also be purchased.Highlights
Nuwara Eliya, the City of Light is the heart of the tea-country in Sri Lanka and is situated 1890 meters above the sea level. This is the highest city in the country and has an average temperature of about 10 C round the year. The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. The city is looked upon by Mount Pidurutalagala, the highest peak in Sri Lanka.
This beautiful town is where the British succeeded in creating a “Little England” during the 19th century with quaint countryside homes built in the architectural style of the Tudor houses in England, red brick walls, well-kept lawns with hedges and gardens blooming with vivid flowers, it’s hard to imagine that this city is only a few hundred miles away from the city of Colombo.
Nuwara Eliya offers many activities for tourists including visits to tea plantations, golf, horse riding, boating, hiking and of course exploring the beauty of the landscaped gardens, waterfalls and plateaus.
The real landmarks of the city today are its hotels which were built during the 19th Century. The Hill Club; a gray stoned mansion, The Grand Hotel; a fine Elizabethan style , St. Andrew’s Hotel and the Queen’s House is another great colonial era estate. There are other architectural monuments such as The Post Office with its charming clock tower and the serene Anglican Church.
Other attractions in the town are the 18-hole Golf Course, Race Course, Victoria Park, Lake Gregory where one could go on fishing or boating excursions. Else visit the Galway’s Land Bird Sanctuary which is very popular with birdwatchers visiting the area.
Perhaps the most awesome region in Sri Lanka is Horton Plains which is located in a high windswept plain at an elevation of over 2000 meters. The National park is a key wildlife area of open grassy woodland, where one if lucky, could spot Leopard, Samba and the endemic Purple faced Langur and a variety of endemic birds. Many visitors come to Horton Plains to see World’s End, a sheer precipice with a drop of about 1000 meters, considered the finest view in all of Sri Lanka.
Another attraction is the Hakgala Botanical Gardens famous for its collection of roses and rare ferns. The slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world's finest Orange Pekoe tea, and several tea estates around the city offer guided tours and the opportunity to sample or purchase their products.
There are many popular waterfalls around the town. Many could be visited as a part of trekking and/or hiking expeditions. Ramboda Falls, Devon Falls and Laksapana Falls are only but a few of the popular attractions.
Many native travelers visit the city during the month of April, the season of flowers, Horse races, Go cart races and Auto rallies. Motor racing comes alive with the Mahagastotte and Radella Hill climbs which is then succeeded by the Nuwara Eliya Road Race and the 4X4 Lake Cross on edge of Lake Gregory.Highlights