KANDY AND THE HILL COUNTRY



Kandy and the Hill Country
Kandy and the Hill Country

The third point of the Cultural Triangle that also comprises Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, Kandy is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka with a rich heritage of music, dance and architecture. Home of the Sacred Tooth relic, the city is on nearly every visitor’s itinerary. It also serves as a gateway to the Hill Country, the mountainous core of the island, where the countryside is dotted with tea plantations are town still preserve the remnants of the British Colonial legacy.

Set amid verdant hills in the heart of the island, Kandy was founded during the reign of Wickramabahu III of Gampola (1357-1374). The city became the capital of SenaSammadhaWickramabahu’s (1473-1511) kingdom in the 15th century, and its reputation was further cemented when the Tooth Relic arrived in 1592. Over the years, successive kings built, renovated and rebuilt sections of the city, as they staved off Colonial powers. The British, however, were determined to conquer the whole island, and finally, in 1815, succeeded in overthrowing this last bastion of independence, thanks to the unpopularity of the tyrannical Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. Kandy soon became an important center for trade, with a railway line linking it to Colombo. Today, it is Sri Lanka’s second city, renowned for the Temple of the Tooth and the spectacular Esalaperahera.

Beyond the bustle of Kandy, the pace of life slackens and the temperate climate provides a welcome relief. The southern Hill Country presents a range of contrasts – from wild and rugged landscapes with gushing waterfalls to carefully manicured tea plantations carpeting the hillsides. The Colonial-era railway creaks along at dizzying heights, past former British hill stations, such as NuwaraEliya and Badulla, which are now modern towns. The area’s other attractions include the hill towns of Ella and Haputale, which offer scenic views and lovely winding walks.

.

EXPLORING KANDY AND THE HILL COUNTRY

Located in the heart of the island, Kandy is home to the famous Temple of the Tooth, which attracts visitors and pilgrims from across the world. The area surrounding the city offers a mix of historical and natural attraction tourists and pilgrims alike who come here to visit the Temple of the tooth, the most sacred Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka, and to experience the famous EsalaPerahera. Easy to wander around, Kandy also has some interesting museums and market to explore. There is a range of accommodation to choose from, with many of the town’s hotels set in the surrounding hills. Kandy also makes a great base for exploring the Knuckles Range and outlying temples.

Sights at a Glance



Kandy and the Hill Country

Kandy


A charming, culturally vibrant city, Kandy is the capital of the Hill Country. It was the seat of government of the last Sinhalese kingdom, until it was taken over by the British in.....


Peradeniya Botanical Gardens


These grounds were originally laid out as pleasure gardens for the Kandyan royalty in 1371. But after the British dethroned the last Kandyan.....


Three Temples Loop


Among the many Kandyan-era temples that dot the area around Kandy, the Gadaladeniya, Lankatilaka and Embekke Devale temples are exceptional. These three temples date.....


Ceylon Tea Museum


Located in the Hantane Estate, the Ceylon Tea Museum occupies a former four-storey tea factory dating from 1925. Exhibits on the ground floor include drying furnaces, grinders.....




Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage


Spread over an area of 10 ha in Pinnawela village, this government-run elephant orphanage is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist attractions.....


Millennium Elephant Foundation


Established in 1999 to look after old and disabled elephants, the foundation’s center has just eight elephants, one of which was born.....


Knuckles Range


Also known as Dumbara Hills, the Knuckles Range was so named by the British for its resemblance to the knuckles of a clenched fist. The range consists of five main peaks and.....


Mahiyangana


The town of Mahiyangana is famous in Buddhist legend as the first of the three places in Sri Lanka that the Buddha visited after he gained enlightenment; the other two been.....




Nuwara Eliya


Established by the British in the 19th century, Nuwara Eliya is often referred to as Sri Lanka’s “Little England”. Set in a wooded valley beneath the 2,524-m Pidurutalagala or Mount.....


Hakgala Botanical Gardens


These gardens were originally laid out in 1861 to cultivate cinchona, the bark of which is a source of the anti-malarial drug quinine. Today, Hakgalais famous for its roses that bloom.....


Horton Plains National Park and World’s End


Set in central highlands of Sri Lanka, Horton Plains is unlike any other place in the country and is often compared to the Scottish.....


Kitulgala


Surrounded by low wooded hills, the small village of Kitulgala is perhaps best known for being the location where David Lean filmed Bridge on the River Kwai(1957). A path signposted.....




Adam’s Peak


The 2,243-m Adam’s Peak is also known as Sri Pada, which means Sacred Footprint- referring to the rock formation at the summit. While Buddhists believe it to be an imprint of Buddha’s foot,.....


Badulla


The capitol of Uva Province, Badulla is thought to be one of the oldest towns in Sri Lanka. Today, it is an important transport hub and visitors are likely to pass through it while travelling.....


Dunhinda Falls


Fed by Badulla Oya River, the 63-m high Dunhinda Falls are picturesque sight, with an enormous volume of water gushing into the pool below in a cloud of spray. The 1-km.....


Ella and around


The small town of Ella is a beautiful place to spend a few restful days. The town is largely made up of a long main street lined with restaurants, and paths leading off to attractive.....




Buduruwagala


Little visited by foreign tourists, Buduruwagala boasts seven colossal rock-cut figures that are said to date from the 10th century. Carved in low relief, the impressive.....


Haputale


Situated on the southern edgeof the Hill country, Haputale is a market town with a mainly Tamil population- many of whom still work in the tea plantation nearby. While the town does.....


Adisham Monastery


Set in tranquil surroundings, this stately mansion was built in the 1930s by Sir Thomas Villiers, a British tea planter. Villiers named the place after the village in Kent where he was born.....


Dambetenne Tea Factory


The Dambatenne Tea Factory was built by famous tea tycoon Sir Thomas Lipton in 1890. Housed in a long white building, the tea factory still uses most of its originally Colonial- era machinery.....




Diyaluma Falls


The attractive Diyaluma Falls are the second highest in Sri Lanka at 170 m. a circuitous walk leads to the top of the falls, where it is possible to cool off in one of large natural.....


Belihuloya


A pretty town set amid tea estates on the blanks of a river, Belihuloya serves as a superb jumping-off point for visiting the breathtaking Bambarakanda Falls, which lie 11 km.....


Ratnapura


Ratnapura is best known as Sri Lanka’s gem capital – in fact the name, Ratnapura translates to “City of Gems”. The busy town is home to numerous gem museums, where.....


Sinharaja Forest Reserve


Considered the largest undisturbed rainforest in Sri Lanka, this reserved stretches over an area of 89 sq km and is bounded by the Gin Ganga river to the south and the Kalu Ganga.....