Table of Contents
- 11 Activities in Kandy Apart from the Tooth Relic Temple
- Temple of the tooth relic
- Walking across the Knuckles Mountain Range
- Trekking in the Hanthana Mountain Rang
- Lankathilaka Temple
- Embekke Temple
- Gadaladeniya Temple
- Peradeniya’s Royal Botanical Gardens
- University of Peradeniya
- Ambuluwawa’s Biodiversity Complex
- Saradiel Village
- Nelligala International Buddhist Centre
- Where to Eat in Kandy
11 Activities in Kandy Apart from the Tooth Relic Temple
If I come across any more blog posts recommending wandering around the city lake as one of the top things to do in Kandy, I swear I will lose it. The lake is fine, but you’ll probably pass it ten or more times a day anyhow because it’s located right in the midst of the city, next to the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Temple of the tooth relic
The main draw in Kandy, as the locals refer to it, is Sri Dalada Maligawa. In fact, this is the only reason that buses full of visitors stop in Kandy—to see this special Buddhist temple. Way to explore the former capital of the Sri Lankan kings!
Owing to its significance, the Temple of the Tooth Relic is included in the majority of 10-day, 7-day, and other multi-day travel packages offered in Sri Lanka. Travellers have the option to schedule a stand-alone journey to Kandy, such as a one-day excursion to see the temple housing the tooth relic. If not, they can arrange a multi-day tour to Sri Lanka that visits the tooth-relic temple and Kandy. Tour companies like Seerendipity Tours provide daily tours from Colombo and numerous other beach resorts to Kandy.
On their initial trips to Kandy, most travellers visit the Temple of the Tooth and the lake I mentioned earlier. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t enamoured with Kandy either. The temple is crowded and shows a lot of spiritual vibe, backed by its grandeur and splendour. Even though most temples in Sri Lanka do not charge their visitors, the temple of the tooth relci will demand foreign travellers pay a 2000 Rs.
This is not to discourage you from visiting the temple. I think the temple is necessary. Like with the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Red Square in Moscow, you just have to see it once, no matter how long lines are at the ticket desk. Don’t stop there, though; Kandy has a multitude of amazing things to do.
Walking across the Knuckles Mountain Range
One of the first destinations that come to mind for travellers while considering trekking and mountain exploration in Sri Lanka are Nuwara Eliya and Ella. Not many people know that Kandy may be a cosy base from which to explore the breathtaking Knuckles Mountain Range. The early British explorers named this range by the way it resembles the knuckles of a closed fist when viewed from some places in Kandy. Locals call it Dumbara Kanduvetiya, or the Misty Mountain Range.
Going knuckles alone is not a suggested strategy. Unlike national parks and forests in wealthy countries, Sri Lanka’s national parks aren’t always tourist-friendly. There are no signs pointing you in the right direction, no clear paths, and no one for miles to ask for help.
It is strongly recommended to hire a driver or guide on your nature exploration tour in Sri Lanka. Request that a guide be sent to show you around by calling the travel agency Seerendipity Tours. How long you want to spend on the stroll is up to you. some travelles choose to go up and down in a single day, although you could hike for several days and camp in the mountains.
Trekking in the Hanthana Mountain Rang
The Hanthana Mountain Range is a great place to hike if you’re in Kandy. There are seven peaks in all, the highest being the 3,800-foot-tall Uura Kanda. The base of Hanthana is closer than it is to Knuckles; it only took us thirty minutes to get there.
There are multiple treks and seven summits, so the book should help you choose wisely. Usually the three hour walking tour of hantana easy; travellers walk through beautiful sun-lit tea gardens, ascended to a hill overlooking the valley, and return through the jungle.
The two temples mentioned below, together with Lankathilaka Temple, are located outside of Kandy, although not too far apart. Compared to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, they give a more true idea of the ambiance of Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka.
Many travellers opine that Lankathilaka to be the best of the three. Udunuwara, the site of this ancient temple built in the fourteenth century by King Bhuvanekabahu IV, is about thirty minutes’ drive from Kandy city.
The temple was built on an uneven rock surface called Panhalgala. Along with Embekke Temple, Lankathilaka is considered one of the most technically complex buildings from the Gampola Kingdom period.
One of the most unusual Buddhist temple to be seen in Sri Lanka is called Embekke Devalaya. Its rafters, entrances, beams, and pillars are all adorned with woodcarvings. While most Sri Lankan temples are built of stone or brick, Embekke’s ornate wooden pillars remind the travellers of Russia, where wood carving has long been a tradition.
Embekke was built by King Vikramabahu III during the Gampola Era in the fourteenth century. The Drummers’ Hall, the Dancing Hall, and the Sanctum of Garagha are its three main components. It is the latter that has the pillars.
Gadaladeniya Temple, which is located close to Lankathilaka Temple and can be reached after a short drive, was constructed in 1344 by King Bhuvanekabahu IV. An Indian architect designed the temple, which was originally known as Dharma Kirthi Viharaya, after the founding monk. Its architecture was distinctly South Indian.
The three temples—Lankathilaka, Embekke, and Gadaladeniya—are located outside of Kandy city, despite their relative distance from one another. Renting a tuk-tuk for three or four hours is better if you want to see all three temples in a single day. For roughly 5000 rupees.
If you don’t want to leave the city, another, less frequented temple in Kandy is Bahirawakanda Viharaya. The massive Buddha monument, positioned atop a hill in the centre of Kandy, is visible from almost everywhere. At 88 feet, this Buddha statue is among the tallest in Sri Lanka. This temple was built in the 1970s, therefore it’s quite new.
You can walk up the slope if you’re physically fit. It’s a short but very steep climb. Fortunately, there’s a modest booth just in front of the temple where you can buy king coconuts. Taking a tuk-tuk up is another somewhat easier and less taxing option.
Peradeniya’s Royal Botanical Gardens
Approximately five kilometres from Kandy, in the city of Peradeniya, lies the Royal Botanical Gardens, one of the most popular tourist spots. You can easily get here by tuk-tuk in fifteen minutes. It’s estimated that the garden sees about two million visitors annually.
Situated near the Mahaweli, the longest river in Sri Lanka, the gardens span 147 acres. Their history is believed to have started in the fourteenth century, even though they were formally created in 1843. Some of the most popular spots in the gardens are a collection of orchids, a palm avenue, a forty-meter-tall bamboo tree, and a suspension bridge over the Mahaweli River.
University of Peradeniya
The University of Peradeniya is located adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens. If you’re taking the train from Colombo to Kandy, you can get off one stop before Kandy at Peradeniya, where you can explore the university’s grounds, take a leisurely stroll around the Botanical Gardens, and have lunch at Hela Bojun.
The university has several campuses that are next to one another. To see the most stunning locales, go for the department of arts. Just stroll about the grounds when you get there; they are quite beautiful. The yravellers are taken by suprise to see the there gigantic tree growing next to the milk bar; definitely worth a visit. Next, find Sarachchandra, the only outdoor theatre in Sri Lanka. It was built in the architectural style of classical Greek theatres and given the name of a Sri Lankan dramatist.
Ambuluwawa’s Biodiversity Complex
One of favourite things to do in Kandy. Since it takes more than 1.5 hours to get to Gampola, there is some driving involved. On the plus side, Gampola is currently travelling to Nuwara Eliya. As such, you can stop at Ambuluwawa if you’re travelling from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya by car.
At more than 3,000 feet above sea level, Ambuluwawa Mountain is home to a biodiversity complex and features a gigantic white spiral structure on top that is reminiscent of a Buddhist stupa.
At the ticket office, you can continue driving the vehicle to the summit of the mountain for a small fee. But you have to work for the breathtaking views from the tower, so if you’re reasonably fit, I think it’s best to leave the car at the gate and hike up. You can climb the tower, which gets thinner as you get closer to the top, until you have to climb the side stairs and risk being pushed over by strong winds. This climb is definitely not for the faint of heart.
The majority of visitors to this peculiar, amusing, and little-known location in Kandy are local youngsters. Robyn Hood, also called Saradiel, was a wealthy Uthuwana, Sri Lankan citizen in the 17th century who stole from the rich and gave the valuables to the less fortunate. Isn’t it fantastic? Robyn Hood existed in Sri Lanka!
Near Uthuwankanda Rock, where Saradiel once hid from the authorities, a hamlet was established 10 years ago to offer an insight into 18th-century Ceylonese life. The grounds are unexpectedly large, spanning six acres.
There is an English-speaking tour guide on hand to explain the 18th-century customs and traditions of Sri Lanka. It is said that Uthuwankanda Rock is climbable, although getting there will require a guide.
Nelligala International Buddhist Centre
How little people know about this amazing place in Kandy! Perched atop a steep mountain, Nelligala is one of the most gorgeous temples I have ever seen in Sri Lanka. Seven large golden sculptures of Buddha crown the temple. There are not many people in the area, and the site gives stunning views of the hill country.
Where to Eat in Kandy
If you want to try authentic local food in Kandy is Hela Bojun. This local food court franchise offers delicious meals at surprisingly low costs. The chain was started by the Department of Agriculture with the goal of empowering rural women and promoting local food.
Every woman who sells food at this open court receives the necessary training. Every morning, the supper is freshly prepared and quite delicious. Mostly made up of locals, the throng is usually a good sign.