Kandy: an ancient city of rich and royal traditions

Kandy: An Ancient City of Rich and Royal Traditions

Located in the heart of the hill country, the picturesque city of Kandy was the last bastion of the Sinhalese, withstanding three centuries of foreign invasion before agreeing to British rule in 1815. The geographical location of the city with thickly forested mountains rendered it difficult to approach, thereby safeguarding it as the final Sinhalese kingdom. To this date it remains rich in its ancient traditions and arts, providing visitors with a view of the vibrant cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

The city is home to the island’s most important Buddhist shrine, the Temple of the Tooth which holds the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. A visit to the temple and its surrounding devalas or shrines honouring the four protective deities of the city will provide an insight to the religious observances, the amalgamation of Buddhist and Hindu practices and the art and architecture that is characteristic of Kandy. It is also the venue of one of the most magnificent pageants in the world, The Esela Perehera which takes place in early August. The carefully orchestrated, gigantic event is formed by five processions from the Temple of the Tooth and from the four devales with spectacular traditional dances, drumming, flute playing, acrobatic performances and fire displays. However, the central focus of the pageant is the great tusker carrying a replica of the tooth relic distinguished from the myriad other richly arrayed elephants by its perfectly proportioned build and majestic demeanour.

Kandy also has several museums showcasing its history and artistic achievements. The tusker museum at the Temple of the Tooth encases the world’s only stuffed elephant: the mortal remnants of the country’s most famous elephant, Raja. The city regularly has traditional dances and cultural shows as well as many interesting handicrafts unique to the region. A visit to this historical city with its tranquil natural beauty is a must for everyone who wishes to experience the dynamic cultural legacy of the island. Comprehensive information on cities in Sri Lanka can be obtained from the TrulySriLanka website ensuring that visitors will be able to successfully plan out a truly memorable tour of this paradise island.

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