I tentatively turned my back on the sun-kissed shores of Hikkaduwa to visit Kandy which is located inland in the centre of Sri Lanka.
Kandy initially shocked me with it’s beauty. As my tuk tuk from the train station chugged up the hillside I was rewarded with stunning views of a city nestled among the mountainous jungle. The views were literally breathtaking and I was keen to snap some shots of the fiery sunset as soon as I had placed my backpack back in the hostel.
I met an English guy in the hostel and we decided to explore the city of Sri Lanka together. After walking what seemed like miles in the low morning sun we finally made it to the town centre. To be honest I was a little disappointed when we found the town. It was gridlocked with traffic and the smell of traffic fumes burnt my nostrils. As we approached the centre of the town and the vast lake my opinion quickly changed.
You can clearly see the effects of colonisation in Kandy. English style churches and Dutch and Portuguese architecture sit happily next to sprawling temples. It feels very European in some parts which actually made me feel home sick.
At the centre of the city lies a vast lake. This lake was built by the British and I had a peculiar bout of deja-vu. I really felt like I was in England (Despite the blistering sun, we don’t see much of that in England!) which was quite a peculiar feeling. Nevertheless the lake was absolutely beautiful.
Like any other city Kandy has a fair portion of people trying to ‘rip you off’ or people offering tuk tuk tours for an extremely inflated price. The English guy that I was with decided that we should follow a guy to buy tickets for traditional Kandy dancing. I warned him that it will be a rip off but he had still not got used to the charming nature of Sri Lankan’s. When we got there we had to wait for ages and were offered an extremely high price for the tickets. We walked off (with a smile) and told the guy that we would think about it. In my mind at least the guy got a small financial reward because we followed him to the ‘ticket office’. We went to watch the traditional dancing on a different day, it really was a spectacular sight but the hall was full of tourists. I loved seeing the normally shy Sri Lankan women dance in their colourful saris with wide smiles on their faces.
A wood carving workshop
Washing an Elephant at Millennium Elephant sanctuary
- Kandy is home to many tourist attractions. One of the most impressive and interesting was the colonial graveyard behind the Temple of the tooth. This held the graves of all of the (Mainly British) settlers in Kandy. The graves were quite amusing to read and very honest. One poor chap died from Diarrhea!
- The Temple of the Tooth is the main temple in Kandy. It’s a place of pilgrimage and worship for many Buddhists and is said to hold the actual tooth of Buddah himself!
- Traditional Sri Lankan dancing is found everywhere in Kandy. I found the act to be very entertaining but the dance hall was full of tourists and no Sri Lankan’s.
- Saint Paul’s church is found right next to the temple of the tooth and is a brilliant example of Sri Lanka’s tolerant ways towards other religions. It’s very traditionally Anglican, just like you would find in the UK!
- Rent a tuk tuk and just outside of Kandy you can find various Elephant sanctuaries, herb gardens, traditional wood carving workshops and factories where tea is processed.
- Kandy is such a surprising city, unlike anywhere else that I visited in Sri Lanka. It’s a lot cooler than the coast too which makes a refreshing change!
- Have you ever been to Kandy? If not would you ever like to visit? Do you prefer to visit beach resorts or inland destnations on your travels?