Kandy, the hill country capital is situated on plains 500 metres above sea level. Surrounded by mountain ranges and built around the Kandy lake, this city has a proud heritage and holds a special place in the hearts of Sri Lankans, being the last bastion of independent Sri Lanka, with the Kingdom of Kandy holding out against the waves of colonial invaders for over 300 years before finally falling to the British in 1812.
Kandy is an important centre of Sinhalese culture and a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists. It is home to the island’s most important religious festival, the annual Esala Perahera , when the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, normally housed in the impressive ‘Temple of the Tooth ,’ is carried on the back of an elephant , around the city in a very colourful procession of Kandyan dancers & drummers and temple chieftains.
The Temple of the Tooth – The current temple was built in the 17th century and houses the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. Legend has that the tooth was bought to Sri Lanka from the funeral pyre of the Buddha in the 6th century.
Esala Perahera – the annual procession is held between July and August each year and is one of the most significant festivals in Sri Lanka. It is when the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is carried on the back of an elephant, around the city. It is a grand and iconic procession of Elephants, Kandyan dancers, traditional drummers & musicians and the temple chieftains in all their regalia. This is one of the most memorable displays of Sri Lankan culture and a must see if you are in Sri Lanka at this time of year
The Knuckles Wilderness – Near Kandy this is range of mountains is a paradise for serious trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts. A World heritage conservation area this often-overlooked pristine wilderness is one of the loveliest and wildest part of Sri Lanka.
The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage – Now a major tourist attraction, Pinnawela is run by the Department Wildlife & the National Zoological gardens plays an important service in caring for sick and orphaned elephants, as well as in running a successful captive breeding program for the Asian elephant. The main attraction for tourists is the option get up close and personal with the young elephants