Thursday, 19 February 2015

Sri Lanka Travel Pt 9: The Attractions Of Kandy

When I visited Kandy, I thought I was going to enjoy a cooler climate for a change, as standing at an altitude of 518m, Kandy is a actually a hill city. But my.. I was dead wrong. Kandy was super hot on the day I visited it. 
In spite of this hot spell, Kandy which is the second largest city in Sri Lanka (after Colombo) is not devoid of attractions and charm.The city was a little congested and my driver had to inch his way through the crowded streets. When he finally found a parking lot in a mall we decided to give him a 'long break' by walking on our own and joining the crowds. 
 Our first destination was Kandy Lake which is located in the heart of town. 
This lake was excavated out of paddy fields in year 1807 by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha who was also the last king of Kandy (and Sri Lanka). It was built to beautify Temple Of The Tooth Relic located nearby. 
Located in the middle of the lake is an island adorned with palm trees and shrubs. This island used to be the King's harem.
A decorative wall called Walakulu (Clouds) wall was built to enhance the beauty of the lake. This wall extends around half the lake but was left incomplete as the king was deposed by the British and had to relinquish his kingdom. The triangular holes in the walls were used for lighting oil lamps on festive days in the past.
The lake is home to tortoises, many species of birds and fish. This is a protected lake and fishing is strictly forbidden here.
We even made our way to Kandy's Viewpoint, also called Arthur's Seat to get a better view of the lake and the city.
The house on the edge of the lake was a bathing house for the queen and the king's concubines. When the British took over another storey was added to it and it was turned into a library.
View of Kandy city from Arthur's Seat.
View of Kandy city and the lake from Arthur's Seat.
Just adjacent to the lake is Temple of the Tooth Relic. This temple houses Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic which is a tooth of the Buddha.
The tooth is never displayed for public viewing and is kept locked away. Locals get to go in for free but foreigners are charged a bomb (and this is always the case for all other attractions in Sri Lanka) to enter the temple. We felt it was pointless to go in as we couldn't view the tooth which the temple is famous for.
The temple complex
The palace ground .
This is Kandyan Cultural Hall where cultural performances are conducted every other day for Kandy's visiting tourists. It is also located by the lake. The one-hour performance starts at 5pm but we had to give that a miss as we had a long journey ahead of us. (To return to Balapitiya where we started took more than 5 hours)
We left the temple ground and walked towards the town. This is Queen's Hotel, which has a 160 years history.
There are many historic buildings in Kandy most of which are British's legacy.
Glimpses of Kandy
Glimpses of Kandy
Glimpses of Kandy
Glimpses of Kandy
 Preserved fish stall in Kandy
Fruit Stall in Kandy
Visible from the town is a huge Buddha statue . This statue actually sits on Bahirawakanda Temple which is located on a hill.
On our way to Kandy, we stopped by a tea factory to see how tea is processed and also to enjoy a cup of Sri Lankan tea.

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