Kandy Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Kandy

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    House of Orchids

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Jan 20, 2012

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    As you go round the grounds, you’ll come across the House of Orchids. This is simply a riot of colours and orchids. There is an artificial lake with water plants in the centre of the lake. Near it stands a white circular dome-like structure commemorating one of the most famous Superintendents of the Park, George Gardener (1844-1849).

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    Royal Botanical Gardens

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Jan 20, 2012

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    Our next stop was the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya (pera=guava; deniya=plain) locality, known for its huge open spaces, fantastic collection of orchids, palm tree-lined roads, spices and medicinal plants, truly a walkers' paradise. It dates back to 1371 when King Wickramabahu III held court at Peradeniya near the Mahaweli river (Great Sandy River). It was formally established in 1843 by the British. You can’t miss the Avenue of Palms. Also, watch out for a tree which may well beat the Leaning Tower of Pisa in its defiance of the laws of gravity. As you go round the grounds, you’ll come across the house of orchids. This is simply a riot of colours and orchids. There is an artificial lake with water plants in the centre of the lake. Near it stands a white circular dome-like structure commemorating one of the most famous Superintendents of the Park, George Gardener (1844-1849).

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    Kandy War Cemetery of World War II

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Jan 20, 2012

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    While returning to town, we stopped at the Kandy War Cemetery of World War II, a place largely forgotten by the normal tourist, where 203 burials had taken place (107 British, 6 Canadians, 23 Indians, 26 Ceylonese, 35 East Africans, 1 French and 3 Italians – as per the plaque). The plaque goes on to add that Ceylon was strategically placed not only owing to the sea route but more importantly, the fall of Singapore. It is a sombre place, well maintained through funds received from the United Kingdom. The tombs are well laid out and a walk through the grounds reveals that quite a few of the fallen soldiers were barely 23 or 24 years old. It truly makes you wonder about the futility of war and the fact that we humans have not yet learnt that in war there are no winners. All are losers.

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    Wrought-Iron Fountain

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Jan 20, 2012

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    After you have had your fill of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, exit from where you had parked your vehicle. Just there you will see a wrought-iron fountain, typically British. For a moment, the pedestal on which it stands and the fountain itself may remind you of Picadilly Circus, London. You will find quite a few persons lolling around, using the pedestal as a bench.

    At the bottom of the fountain you can read this inscription:

    ‘Erected by the coffee planters of Ceylon in commemoration of the visit of H.R.H the Prince of Wales to Kandy. December 1875’

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    Kandy Cultural Show - II

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Jan 18, 2012

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    The highlight of the evening was the Fire Walking Show. A shallow pit, roughly 7 feet long by 3 feet wide was littered with red-hot charcoal. The artists then walked through this fire pit, unharmed. It was fiery, it was daring, it was thrilling. A bar attached to the hall had raised everybody’s spirit.

    To quote from the handout:

    “The origin of fire walking can be traced back to the epic story of Rama and Sita. Ravana, the King of Ceylon, had abducted the princess Sita from India. When Rama her husband (an Indian King) regained her, she proved her chastity during her enforced stay with Ravana, by walking on fire barefoot-unhurt. The devotees who perform fire-walking seek the divine blessings of Lord Kataragama and Goddess Pattini before they do so.”

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    Kandy Cultural Show - I

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Jan 18, 2012

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    The ‘Dances of Sri Lanka’ is organised by the Kandy Lake Club Dance Ensemble daily at 5.30 pm at 7, Sangamitta Mawatha, Kandy (Off Malabar Street). We went after lunch to book our ticket and to ensure the first row, centre seats. This precaution was worth the effort. As many as 12 different dances of Sri Lanka were presented within a span of one hour, from the Ceremonial Drums to the Peacock Dance, the Devil Dance, the Fire Dance, the Harvest Dance and the Drum Orchestra. Tickets were LKR 500/-

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    Sacred Temple of Tooth Relic - I

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Jan 18, 2012

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    The next day early morning found us at the entrance to the Sri Dalada Maligawa (The Sacred Temple of Tooth Relic). The temple complex is huge and the setting serene. It is situated 1630 m (5,350 ft) above sea level with the Kandy Lake in front and the Udawatta forest behind it. The golden canopy gifted by the President of Sri Lanka, Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1987, is a little to your left. As you walk towards the main entrance, you will notice the statue of Wariyapola Sumangala with his right first raised and right leg forward, as though leading a revolt. This is the first statue of a monk that I saw sculptured in an aggressive pose. Before the Kandyan Treaty of 1815, he had brought down the British flag and hoisted the Sri Lankan flag.

    Next is the monument for Weera Keppetipola. Not to be missed is the beautiful statue of Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala, the pair who brought the Sacred Tooth Relic from the Kingdom of Kalinga, India to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, in 312 BC, during the reign of King Kithsiri Meghavanna (301-328).

    For close to 1,540 years, the Sacred Tooth relic (left canine) belonged to the Kings of Sri Lanka who treated the sacred object as their own property with the common man having no access to it. However, owing to foreign invasions and the belief that whoever possessed the Sacred Tooth would rule over the kingdom of Sri Lanka, the sacred object had to be moved from place to place nine times as a safety precaution. From Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Beligal and so on till its final resting place, Kandy. Earlier, this sacred object was in the possession of the Kalinga Kings of India for over 800 years.

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    The Srumming Hall
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    Sacred Temple of Tooth Relic - II

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Jan 18, 2012

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    There is quite a long walk leading to the temple at the end of which, you remove your shoes, buy some offerings if you wish and them climb a few steps to the main entrance (Western Gate). Two buildings make up the palace complex, the Entrance Tunnel and the Drumming Hall. You may notice that the moonstone is more decorative that the ones you have seen in Anuradhapura and elsewhere.

    The morning ritual was in progress when we visited the temple. There are three of these, 5.30 am to 8.00 am, 9.30 am to 11.00 am and in the evening from 6.30 pm to 8 pm. On Wednesdays, along with the midday service, there is a weekly ritual symbolising the bathing the Buddha. Three temple priests were beating the 67 cms. Kandyan drums, the ‘geta beras’. Going beyond this Drumming Hall, past a flight of steps, we came across a small stupa in a corner, believed to contain some valuables offered to the temple. Climbing the wooden stairs, we came to the main room, the Vedahitina Maligawa (Tooth Relic Shrine) where the crowd was overwhelming. Inside the inner chamber is the golden casket which contains the Sacred Tooth Relic. It is supposed to be encased in seven baskets inside a bullet-proof chamber. A smaller golden basket carried by the Temple Elephant during the Esala Mangallaya (Dalada Perahera or procession) during the full moon of July-August, is also housed inside the shrine. Next to this, on the ground floor is the three-storeyed New Palace built in 1936, where a huge golden statue of the Buddha, along with plenty of tusks, are kept.

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    Sacred Temple of Tooth Relic - III

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Jan 18, 2012

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    The museum of the Temple is located on the second and third floors of the New Palace. Rare manuscripts, statues, murals and carvings and other similar artefacts are housed here.
    When you leave the main building and go towards the rear, there is another statue of the Buddha. Going past this you will come across a fine wooden architecture, the Mangul Maduwa (The Royal Court). Next to it is a house dedicated to ‘Raja’, the revered tusker who faithfully carried out his duties during the annual July-August procession for over 50 years. The taxidermist has done a good job and Raja looks as regal as ever.

    “The legend regarding the construction of the Dalada Maligava is another interesting story. The King had come personally with his astrologer Hulangamuve Mulachariya to view the jaya bhoomi. Viewing the marshes and hills around, the King was reluctant to settle there and had instructed the astrologer to consult the oracle for 48 hours.

    “After further consulting the oracle, the astrologer had predicted what would be found on digging the jaya bhoomi. First he said white clay would be found: it was found. Next he said, would come sand, and next he said, there would be water. The astrologer then asked for a white cloth, and the king got excited and asked anxiously whether he expected to find gem stones, but the astrologer said, a white tortoise would be found and it was found.

    “The King was delighted with the accuracy of the predictions and decided to build the city at the site with his palace there. But, to his disappointment, the astrologer said it was too good a site for his palace and should be the site of a temple. Hence, the King decided to make it a place of Buddhist worship and erected the Dalada Maligava there, later enshrining the Tooth Relic as well.
    “A small pool near the east end of what is now the lake was made for the Kiri ibba (small white tortoise) and it was called the Kiri Muhuda. Later this land was asweddumised as paddy land for the King, and finally the last King converted it into the present lake which also came to be known as the Kiri Muhuda.”
    (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lkawgw/kandconv.html)

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    Ranweli Spice Garden, Matale

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Jan 17, 2012

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    The next day at 8.30 in the morning, we left for Kandy. Enroute, we stopped at the Ranweli Spice Garden, Matale, about 100 kms (2.5 hrs) from Anuradhapura. This is a vast plantation with myriad variety of spices and herbs. An experienced salesman explained about all the different varieties of spices and herbs and their medicinal prowess. A free neck and back massage was also included. At the end, we were led to a shop where we could select various products. As most of the items were exorbitantly priced, we declined politely and were soon on our way to Kandy, a distance of roughly 30 kms.

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    Temple of the Tooth grounds

    by tim07 Updated Jan 2, 2012

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    To escape the crowds at the temple you can venture out into the temple grounds. Here among the courtyards you'll find the Alut Maligawa (New Shrine Room), Sri Dalada Museum, Audience Hall and Raja Tusker Museum.

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    Temple of the Tooth

    by tim07 Updated Jan 2, 2012

    The temple is home to Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic, a tooth of the Buddha. This attracts pilgrims from all over the island as well as outside Sri Lanka. When I was there the temple was packed with both pilgrims and tourists

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  • Kandy - Spice Gardens - Temple of the Tooth

    by Lovetrekking Written Oct 6, 2011

    I've noted posts that complain about the prices charged in spice gardens and the pressure from the tour guides to buy. Tour guides are given 40% commission from the spice gardens so that can add up to a good income for them. Same with the Kandy Dance Hall - there is commission paid on tickets to the touts that hang around the Queens Hotel. We encountered one Kandy tout who daily sits outside the Queens Hotel trying to get tourists into the Dance Hall and then the Temple of the Tooth. His ultimate aim is to fleece the tourist. He also takes tourists trekking into the Knuckles range with camping and sleeping outside. He is a predator of the worst kind as my friend was stuck with him in the Knuckles range and this predator made a sexual advance towards my friend. Some of these touts are really awful so be careful they are not insured - its better to pay a little more and go with an affliated tourist guide.

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    Ayuerveda

    by PierreZA Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The practice of Ayuervedic Medicine is very common in Sri Lanka.

    I first got to know about Ayuerveda when I was in Kerala. Since then I always enjoy the relaxing massage with the ayuervedic oils. Shirodara is another treatment I can reccomend.

    During my stay in Kandy I went for a massage and herbal steam bath, which was great after the long trip to Sri Lanka.

    I went to Wedamedura, which was reccomended by my 3-wheeler guide, and then saw it was also in Lonely Planet. It is a bit out of the city, but was worth the visit.
    Close to the "spa", is a wonderful restaurant, called DJ's, where I had great Sri Lankan food (see restaurant tips).

    Wedamedura
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    Millennium Elephant Foundation - on way to Kandy

    by chizz Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    One of the things that I wanted to do on my travels was to bathe elephants and have an "elephant shower" and so after researching where I could do this on my trip to Sri Lanka, I was told at "Millennium Elephant Foundation".
    The Foundation is located quite close to the more well known Pinnawella Elephant Orphanage which was also on my itinerary, so how could I refuse a visit?
    Entry costs Rs. 600 or Rs. 2000 for entry and a 15 minute elephant ride which includes scrubbing the elephant with a coconut shell in the river and the famous elephant shower (where the elephant squirts you with water from it's trunk as you sit on it's back in the river). You can also pay for longer elephant rides and these range from Rs. 3000 - 5000 for 30, 45 and 60 minutes.
    I chose the 15 minute ride which was over very quickly, but it was a nice experience with the bathing and shower included.
    Remember to take a change of clothing if you are doing the bathing experience and there are bathrooms where you can get changed (although they are not the best I have seen).
    There is also a small museum on site which tells you about the elephants at Millennium and allows you to sponsor them and a restaurant.
    The Foundation is open from 8.30am-6/7pm daily.

    Elephant shower at Millennium Getting on the elephant at Millennium Elephant ride at Millennium Me and elephant at Millennium Laxmi the elephant at Millennium

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