Things Should Be Done In Kandy Extraordinary Experiences

estled in the central hills of Sri Lanka, at an altitude of 500M above sea level, Kandy is a city steeped in history and culture. Known for its ornate temples, picturesque gardens, and bustling markets, Kandy has long been considered the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. But beyond Kandy’s attractions, lies a rich and fascinating history that dates back centuries. Check out our top 15 places to see and things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka, to make the most out of your time in this gorgeous city! It is divided into 3 sections; what to do and see in the Sacred City of Kandy and things to do in Kandy city and things to do in Kandy region.

Places to See and Best Things to do in the Sacred City of Kandy

Sacred City of Kandy is one of the 8 UNESCO world heritage sites in Sri Lanka. We will start the journey here where, one of the important pilgrimage for Buddhism in Sri Lanka, is located. The Sacred City of Kandy is situated just at the foothills of Udawatta Kele Forest Reserve.

Marvel at the Old Royal Palace Complex of Kandy

The Royal Palace of Kandy, located right next to the Sacred Tooth Relic Temple, was the official residence of all the Kandyan kings till British colonized Sri Lanka in 1815.

The palace complex includes several buildings, courtyards, and gardens, all of which are adorned with intricate carvings and murals. The palace is also home to a museum that showmatters artifacts and exhibits related to the history and culture of the Kandyan kingdom. The temple of the tooth relic, perhaps, is also part of the Royal Palace.

Today, the Royal Palace is a popular tourist attraction that offers visitors a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich royal heritage and architectural beauty.

Visit Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Sri Dalada Maligawa

Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Tooth Relic Temple is the Sacred temple in which the tooth relic which was brought to Sri Lanka under secret and adventurous circumstances. It is said when Buddha attained samadhi or parinirvana, almost 2000 pieces of his skeleton were collected and after distributed to various Buddhist monasteries for worshiping. It is said that this particular tooth relic was in the safe-keeping of the successive Kalinga rulers until about 4th century CE. Kalinga was under siege and the tooth relic was secretly smuggled into Sri Lanka by the then princess, named Hemamala, who hid it in her hair during her difficult and perily passage from Odisha to Sri Lanka.

The relic then became the sign of monarchy. Whoever possessed it, was the king! The relic has had many viharas as its homes. First Anuradhapura, then Polonnaruwa, other places, and finally Kandy when it became the capital. The then king of Kandy built this famous temple, with a moat and an octagonal gallery and consecrated the tooth relic, kept in a golden casket, with great pomp and show.

Thrice everyday, the casket is taken out for worshiping and, what a sight it was! The Kandyan drummers slowly start overcomeing the Kandyan drum (hewisi horane wadana) and after some time increase the speed and soon it borders on frenetic crescendo. In fact our hearts overcome at the same frequency! About that time the solid doors, which are framed by a pair of huge elephant tusks, are opened for the devotees with special permits for their darshan at close quarters, most of whom are wearing white. It is a sight to behold!

Once a year, the golden casket is taken out of the temple during Esala Perahera festival, and paraded around the temple complex on caparisoned temple elephant. It is also called Sri Dalada Perahara or the festival of the sacred tooth.

Visit Sri Kataragama Devalaya Temple

Kataragama Temple along with Sri Maha Natha Temple, Sri Maha Paththini temple and Sri Vishnu temple form the guardian quartet deities who protect the city of Kandy. So it is normal for devotees to visit these temples also when they visit Sri Dalada Maligawa. Kataragama Dewale is located a bit further away in the commercial area, than the other 3, which are right opposite Dalada Malegawa.

The principle deity of this temple is Kartikeyan or Murugan as he is called in Tamil. The deity here has several head and hands and rides a peacock. This beautiful mix can only be seen in Kandy. Hindu gods are protecting the city of Kandy where, mostly Buddhism is being practiced.

Offer Prayers at the temple Sri Maha Natha Devalaya

Sri Maha Natha Dewale is located in the gated square in front of the Tooth Relic Temple. We were informed that this temple has been in existence since the 14th century, making it older than Tooth Relic Temple by a couple of centuries.

It is now believed that the presiding deity is a form of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. People pray here for health and curing of sickness. The Mandapa of Sri Natha Dewale is lined with many shiny carved stone pillars. It is also one of the four deities protecting the city from Mara, the mythical evil form opposing Buddhism.

Visit Sri Maha Pattini Devalaya

The presiding deity of Sri Maha Pattini Devalaya, (temple of the Goddess of Chastity), is the third deity who is the protector of the Sacred City of Kandy. This temple is located in the same premises as Sri Maha Natha Devalaya.

The main deity of this temple is a deified common Tamil woman during the first few centuries of the Common Era. It is based on the Tamil literary masterpiece, Silappadikaram (the story of the anklet). It is a long story but the essence is the poor husband of this woman, Kannagi, was trying to sell one of the anklets of his wife at the market where he is condemned of looting the queen’s anklet and executed by the Pandyan King, without following the due process of justice.

When Kannagi finds out about this problem, she is furious beyond words, goes to the king, breaks the anklet and shows that it contained less precious stones, where as the Queen’s anklet had pearls. King realizes his mistake but nothing could be done. Kannagi then throws the anklet at the king cursing him that he will die soon and also curses the people of Madurai, the capital of Pandyan Kingdom, that their city will be finished.

Madurai starts to burn and the king contracts a perilous health issue and dies (alternately it is said he was so ashamed that he committed self-destruction). After this episode Kannagi goes to Chera Kingdom. Where the Gods above, who were observing all this, calms her down and escorts her to the heaven and people build a temple and start to worship her.

Pattini (paththini) means a wife or a chaste woman in Tamil (and many other Indian languages).

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