Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is 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 today, it is a World Heritage Site, mainly due to the temple.
Sri Lanka is adorned with many temples, shrines and stupas. The Sri Dalada Maligawa (Sacred Temple of the Tooth), at the heart of the city of Kandy, is the holiest temple in the world of Theravada Buddhism. On the delightful landscape, the city and countryside of Kandy are built with countless temples. The Malwatta and Asgiri temples, Hindagala 7th century temple, Lankatilaka temple, Gadaladeniya Temple, Embekke Temples and Hindu Shrines around the land is full of artistic and architectural beauty of the Kandyan era. Each temple boasts of its unique designs and carvings, influenced by the religion itself. Please make sure you are covered in modest clothing and don’t cover your head when you visit the temples.
The Royal Palace of Kandy was the royal residence of the Kandyan Kingdom. Located near the Temple of the Tooth, the Palace contains a number of structures dating to the days of the Sri Lankan Sinhalese monarchy. The Royal Palace along with the council chambers, the queen's chambers, the quarters of the royal concubines and the armoury are significant and well taken care of. Now, these individual areas serve as museums housing a selection of royal artefacts. Formerly a part of the Royal Palace, the Archaeological Museum, holds an interesting collection of pots, stonework, carvings and pillars.
The first palace was built by King Vickramabahu III and has been improved by each King during their reign. King Sri Vickrama Rajasinghe was the last king to reside in it before he was defeated by the British in 1815.
Kandy, a prominent city within the cultural triangle, provides you with the chance to witness a striking display of Kandyan dancing. An iconic art form of elaborate movements in flamboyant costumes to the vibrating sounds of drumming, the most famous dance is the ves dance. Originally, only males were allowed train as dancers, but now, there are several schools that train women the Kandyan dance. The males wear a fancy attire than the females, with a headdress and a decorative beaded net on the chest along with metallic anklets.
You can see the dance at the Temple of the Tooth before the evening puja ceremony which takes place at around 6.30 p.m. The performance normally lasts for an hour until 6 pm.
Three kilometres from the south of Kandy city, the Ceylon Tea Museum is located on the Hantane Road. With easy access to reach the museum and sufficient parking facilities for vehicles, the museum is a four-floor building. A telescope positioned on the fourth floor provides the chance to observe a picturesque view of the town and the surrounding beautiful range of hills.
The Hantane Tea factory built in 1925 was converted into the museum. Abandoned for more than a decade, it was refurbished by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Planters’ Association of Sri Lanka. It traces the centuries of history of the first tea plant brought to Sri Lanka by the English Gentleman, James Tylor. There are exhibits about the pioneers of tea and old tea-processing equipment.
To enhance the colour, fragrance and flavour of food, spices are used in the right combination to turn the simplest food into an aromatic and delicious experience in the world of cooking, but likewise, when used wrong, it can make the food taste terrible. Therefore careful knowledge is essential for the proper use of spices.
The pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has been popular for its spice and the spice trade throughout history. Many spice garden around Sri Lanka offers tourists extraordinary visits with the opportunity to learn the secret behind each seed and root..
Valued for its rareness and durability, the gemstone is cut, polished and desired for its beauty by all ages. Known as the land of gems, 'Rathna Deepa', our country has built a name as one of the finest gem cutting and finishing markets in the world, offering the highest quality of sapphires that meet global standards. The Ceylon Sapphire, as it is known, has been used to make the engagement ring of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Gem Factory in Kandy is well equipped to learn about mining in Sri Lanka. The mining is very manual and pretty dangerous, and you learn what gems are found in Sri Lanka and how they are mined. Additionally, you also learn the process of cutting and polishing the gems. It's a worthy trip down, with many things to learn while seeing the beauties.
Arts and crafts in Sri Lanka have been evolving throughout history. The two elements; Buddhism and Hinduism influenced most of our sculptures, architecture and paintings, especially in the creation of temples and shrines. Additionally, the three generations of colonisation by the Portuguese, the Dutch and finally the British, has influenced the development of colonial architecture throughout the country.
Within the cultural triangle, the Kandyan Art encompasses frescoes, wall paintings, lacquer wood painting, wood carving, stone carving, metal work, jewellery, furniture, Kandyan architecture and much more. The Kandyan Art Association located near the Temple of the Tooth Relic displays the rich cultural beauty of art and crafts of the Kandyan. You can buy the products that are up for sale, after the glamorous display of dance, art and crafts.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village. Regarded as one of the popular tourist destination in Sri Lanka, it is situated within a vast expanse of greenery and mountains, to fascinate our eyes and mind. The elephants can be seen up close and personal, which provides an amazing experience to us. Various activities throughout out the day takes place, with the bathing time following the bottle feeding session which might give you the chance to feed adorable baby elephants. Check out the activities and plan your day before you go in, if there is anything, in particular, you want to see or do.
The Peradeniya Botanical Garden, a few kilometres to the west from the city of Kandy, is the largest of the botanical gardens of Sri Lanka. Attracting two million visitors annually, it is also the finest of its kind in Asia and renowned for its collection of orchids. The garden includes more than 4000 species of plants, including more than 300 varieties of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees, attached to its National Herbarium.
The origins of the Botanical Gardens date far back in the yesteryears. Luminaries as varied as Queen Elizabeth II, Marshal Tito and Yuri Gagarin have planted trees to mark their visits to the garden. One tree with a significant history is the Cannonball Tree planted by King George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary in 1901.
Sigiriya is an ancient palace and rock fortress located near the town of Dambulla. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance. Dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres high, this site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock, he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
Polonnaruwa is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province. Famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilisation, it is one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country. The moment you reach Pollonaruwa, you will relish the feel of the cool wind blowing from the surrounding, as it is considered one of the cleanest ruined city of the country. Make sure you will wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders (especially women), as you are about to go near the vicinity of many sacred sites.