Sri Lanka is an incredibly diverse and culturally-rich country. At the heart of Sri Lanka and its culture lies the royal city of Kandy. The “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” boasts no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. If you can spare a few days in Kandy, you can experience different aspects of Sri Lankan history and culture. I have listed the Top 6 things to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Things to do in Kandy: The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
The Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of 8 in Sri Lanka, alongside Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Galle, Polonnaruwa, the Cave Temple in Dambulla, the Sinharaja Forest and the Central Highlands. The temple is a place of great historic, cultural and spiritual significance, a place to visit but also experience. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world, and the most visited in Sri Lanka. From within the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, the temple holds the tooth relic of Buddha. To this day, the Tooth Relic plays an important role in local politics: the belief is that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Read more in this post.
Things to do in Kandy: The Geragama Tea Factory
Ceylon Tea is famous around the world. It’s readily available in any supermarket and cafe, and we think nothing of dropping a tea bag in hot water to start the day or for an afternoon comfort. Tea comes in many shapes and tastes and, in the coffee-obsessed society we live in, we tea drinkers have something special too… But how is it made? An hour away from Kandy, Geragama Tea Factory was built in 1903 and makes an interesting visit.
Things to do in Kandy: The Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens
The largest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka, Peradeniya is a haven of peace. Located 110kms from Colombo, I recommend stopping there to stretch your legs and discovering the results of very hard work by British colonists to create a garden fit for kings. The gardens cover a surface of 147 acres and were originally conceived in 1371 by Sinhalese kings. In 1821, the British turned them into botanical gardens and began conserving the many plant species found in Sri Lanka. Imported crops were tested in the gardens: coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber, cinchona… Interestingly, the first plants of tea were regarded as a decoration, before becoming a huge industry for Sri Lanka. Read more in this post.
Things to do in Kandy: The Spice Gardens
By some accounts, Sri Lanka is the cradle of the ancient spice trade. Indeed, its climate is especially suitable for growing spices. Sri Lanka has diverse micro-climates and soil types, making some spices endemic, hence its importance in the spice trade. For a long time, the cinnamon trade, the Arabs and North African traders monopolised the spice trade, basin themselves in Galle, on the south coast of Sri Lanka, in the 7th Century. Incredibly, a pound of cinnamon was more valuable than a pound of gold at the time! Spice Gardens are plentiful around Kandy and will give you an opportunity to learn about spices and their health benefits. Read more in this post.
Things to do in Kandy: Shop for Handmade Crafts
Sri Lanka has a rich historical and cultural heritage. It’s easy to find souvenirs and handicrafts to take home and I promise you there is plenty of temptation! There is a wide range of crafts to explore: wood carving, masks, batik, jewellery, lace making, pottery, lacquer work… Kandy offers many opportunities to discover and shop for high-quality craftsmanship. Read more in this post.
This should keep you busy in Kandy for a few days. If you are looking for more ideas on Sri Lanka, check out my Pinterest board.