From its Buddhist roots to its British-era days…from its fabulous natural heritage sites to its amazing wealth of flora and fauna, Kandy, a precious UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides a delightful window to all this and more about Sri Lanka.
Kandy by tuk-tuk
Among the best things to do in Kandy is to go exploring by a local tuk-tuk. It’s such a fun way to discover one of Sri Lanka’s most charming cities. The Temple of the Tooth, with its venerated Buddha relic, is significant in Kandyan history. The tuk-tuk will navigate its way through vintage lanes and settings, past heritage structures that will thrill the culture buff in you. Another thing to do as part of this tour is to take a short walk by the lake, which opens a small window to the British-era days of Sri Lanka, inscribed in the Garrison cemetery.
Three Temple Loop
One of the classic things to do in Kandy is to follow the three temple trails to Gadaladeniya Viharaya, Embekke, and Lankathilaka, amongst Sri Lanka’s most ancient and interesting temples, located close to each other in the central highlands. Revered for their excellent craftsmanship and historic importance to Sri Lanka’s Gampola era, the temples wing you back in time to the early founding days of Buddhism on this spice island. The trail to the Embekka Devalaya allows for another great thing to do in Kandy, which is to make a quick stopover in Sri Lanka’s legendary coffee, tea, and pepper plantation spaces.
Trekking in Knuckles
The thing to do in Kandy for adventure buffs is to thrill to the trekking delights of the intriguingly named Knuckles Mountain, a range in the form of a clenched fist. Kandy’s other UNESCO acclaimed World Heritage Site has picturesque trails which cut through its globally significant biodiversity. The thing to do for eco-tourism buffs is to linger in these gorgeous environs, home to over 34 per cent of Sri Lanka’s endemic flora and faunal species. Birders will love the sightings of its endemic avifauna.
Travelling to Kegalle, 36 km from Kandy, prepare yourself to be captivated by the gentle giants at the Elephant Foundation. This charity rescues and cares for captive Asian elephants in Sri Lanka. Set amidst a 15-acre coconut plantation, this is a favourite Kandy back-to-nature experience. If you like, you can even help feed the elephants under supervision. You’ll be amazed to learn that the paper factory uses elephant dung to make paper!
Do keep in mind Kandy holds the promise of many more delightful things to do, so do plan many return trips to the historic city.