Kandy is located at the centre of Sri Lanka 125 km away from Colombo and is generally recognised as the island nation's cultural capital. It was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Day 1


Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Kandy (Maligawa) was the royal residence of the Sinhalese monarchy of the Kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka. The last king to reside in it was King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha until he was overthrown by the British in 1815 with the aid of Kandian chieftains. Once part of a large palace complex that included the King's Palace (Raja Wasala), Royal Audience Hall (Magul Maduwa), Queen's Palace (Meda Wasala), King's Harem Quarters (Palle Vahale) and Queen's Bathing Pavilion (Ulpange), together with the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa). The first palace was built by King Vickramabahu III (mid 14th century) and by Senasamatha Vickramabahu (15th-16th century) of the Kingdom of Gampola. By the time of the last king, Sri Vickrama Rajasinha (late 18th century) the palace consisted of many buildings scattered spread among the premises.

Sri Dalada Maligawa

Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple. Over the centuries, as the custodianship of relic became to symbolize the right to rule, reigning monarchs always built the tooth relic temples quite close to their royal residences. The main entrance gate which lies over the moat is called Mahawahalkada. At the foot of Mahawahalkada steps there is a Sandakada pahana (moonstone) which is carved in Kandyan architectural style. Mahawahalkada was destroyed in the 1998 bomb blast and rebuilt afterwards along with other stone carvings.

National Museum

The National Museum is housed in the Palle Vahala (lower palace), which was constructed during the Sri Vickrama Rajasingha era and was used as the quarters of the queens of King of Kandy. This building has been built according to the architectural features of Kandy period. It was used as a depository for historical artifacts made by the Kandy Art Association which was established in 1832 and artisans of Matale. The museum was opened to the public in 1942. The museum has over 5,000 artifacts on display consist of weapons, jewelry, tools and other artifacts from the Kandian era (17-19th century) and post British Colonial era, including a copy of the 1815 agreement that handed over the Kandyan provinces to the British.

British Garrison Cemetry

Also known as the Kandy Garrison Cemetery, this is a British cemetery for British nationals who died in Ceylon. It was established in 1817 just after British captured the Kandy and closed in 1873. The cemetery was restored in 1998 using financial contributions from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Prince Charles made a visit to the graves in November 2013.

Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

It is a historic forest reserve on a hill-ridge in the city. During the days of the Kandyan kingdom, Udawatta Kele was known as "Uda Wasala Watta" in Sinhalese meaning "the garden above the royal palace". The sanctuary is famous for its extensive avifauna. The reserve also contains a great variety of plant species, especially lianas, shrubs and small trees. The forest is of religious importance as there are three Buddhist meditation hermitages and three rock shelter dwellings for Buddhist monk hermits. The highest point of the ridge is 635 meters above sea level and the sanctuary has become a popular hiking place for foreign visitors.

Ceylon Tea Museum

The Ceylon Tea Museum is located in the former Hantane Tea Factory, which was originally constructed in 1925. Hantane was one of the first successful areas to cultivate tea following the failure of coffee production on the island. The museum contains exhibits on tea pioneers, including James Taylor and Thomas Lipton, as well as lots of vintage tea-processing paraphernalia. The ground floor houses 19th Century colonial generators, rollers, dryers, fermentation tables, sorting machines, and so on.

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