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Kandy -The Home of Lanka’s Culture
The cool spot where tourists can have a taste of Sri Lankan culture.
Kandy, also known as ‘Maha Nuwara’ (in Sinhala Language) is the capital of the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Prior to the invasion of the island by the armies of the Dutch, Portuguese and British, it was the capital of the last of the Sinhala Kings.
Situated in the Central Province, it has a cool and healthy climate where lush vegetation flourishes. It is steeped in history and tradition. The historic ‘Temple of the Tooth’ housing the sacred Tooth relic of the Buddha and the world famous Royal Botanical Gardens – just six (06) miles away, at Peradeniya are within Kandy. Peradeniya, off Kandy is also famed for being the Headquarters of the British Forces under the Supreme Allied Commander of the South - Asia Command – Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten – a member of the British Royal Family.
The city is surrounded by ranges of mountains, e.g.: the Knuckles Range and through which the longest river – the Mahaweli flows. According to history, the Kingdom of Kandy (‘Maha Nuwara/ Senkadagala) was first established as far back as 1357. Despite several foreign invasions, Kandy remained independent until the early 19th century – March 2nd 1815 to be exact – when the Kandyan Convention was signed between the British and the Kandyan aristocrats (‘Radalas’) whereby the city of Kandy was declared a British Protectorate. The city is also famed for the annual, historic, pageant – the Esala Perahera in which the Tooth Relic of the Buddha is taken in procession around the city. This procession draws visitors from all parts of the country – and even from abroad.
As a commercial centre too, Kandy is in the forefront. It has many places of scenic beauty surrounding the city and with the tourist trade expanding; the surrounding hills are studded with tourist Hotels and Inns – their lights making the surrounding hills a mass of flickering lights in the velvety blackness of the night.
The Asgiriya International Stadium – the Happy Hunting Grounds of the famed Mutthiah Muralidharan – and the Pallekele Cricket Stadium being constructed for the forthcoming Cricket World Cup in 2011 are also two land marks that Kandy is proud of.
The local Government Authority of the city is the Government Agent, or District Secretary, whilst the Mayor heads the Municipal Council. Another eye-catching sight is the Lake, opposite the Dalada maligawa where tourists and even locals are afforded Boat Rides.
With all its historical and religious background, Kandy has earned its importance as a World Heritage Site. Further, the Royal Palace and the Lankatilaka temple also occupy places of importance in the history of Kandy.
The world famous Kandy ‘Esala Perahera’ is a festival patronized by all – young and old, Buddhist and Non-Buddhist – and even by tourists. It goes on for a continuous Ten (10) days and parades the streets of Kandy, before it ends with ‘Water – Cutting’ on the last day.
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya – which is world – renowned the Wace Park above the Kandy Lake and the Udawathakele Forest Reserve are other landmarks of the city of Kandy – the home of many communities – of which the Sinhala community holds majority.