Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy is a city in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, at an elevation of 500 metres. It lies on the shore of an artificial lake constructed in 1807 by the last Kandyan king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinha. Kanda, the word from which Kandy is derived, is a Sinhalese word meaning "hill"; from the city's initial construction, about AD 1480, it was known as Kanda Uda Pas Rata ("Palace on Five Hills"). In 1592 it became the capital of the Sinhalese kings, who preserved their independence during the period of European colonial rule—except for temporary occupations by the Portuguese and the Dutch—until 1815, when the British ousted Sri Wickrama Rajasinha—incidentally, a Tamil-speaking Telugu Buddhist born in the Indian city of Madurai.

From the 13th or 14th century, Kandy became a centre for both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. The most important of its many Buddhist temples is Dalada Maligava ("Temple of the Tooth"), where a sacred relic, supposed to be the left upper canine of the Buddha, has been preserved since 1590. The temple, constructed under Kandyan kings in the 17-18th centuries, was joined to a tower that was originally a prison but now houses an important collection of palm-leaf manuscripts. The city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. The Esala Perahera, the annual 10-day torchlight parade of dancers and drummers, dignitaries, and ornately decorated elephants, commemorates the sacred tooth; it is now one of the better-known festivals in Asia, and it may be the largest Buddhist celebration in the world. [—Text adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008]


Monitor Lizard by Kandy Lake

Temple of the
Sacred Tooth Relic (more)

Temple of the
Sacred Tooth Relic


Kandy from above

Manmade lake, created in 1807

With an island in the middle (more)

Rice and curry lunch

Rice and curry lunch

Lone woman in a local bar

Monitor lizard near lake (more)

View of Dalada Vidiya street

Visitor contemplating a smoothie

Temple of the Tooth Relic (more)

Main entrance (more)

Flowers for sale outside

Gateway to the shrine

Passageway to the shrine (more)

Shrine to the tooth relic
(more, rear)

Offerings by pilgrims (1, 2, 3)


Casket with the tooth relic

Entrance to another shrine

The husband-wife duo that
apparently brought the tooth
relic to Sri Lanka: Princess
Hemamali and Prince Dantha

Another image of the duo

Ground floor of the shirne hall
called Alut Maligawa (more)

Sample display narrating the major
milestones of Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Behind the Tooth Relic temple,
seen from Sri Dalada Museum

Hindu temples near the temple of the
sacred tooth relic (shrine under a tree)

British Garrison Cemetery


A lot of them died young
including infants (more)

Many deaths due to sunstroke
jungle fever, and elephants

163 graves ona hill behind
the national museum

Udawattakelle Sanctuary

A gentle hiking trail

Alive with the sound of birds

And monkeys

Jackfruit (on the tree)

A large herd of monkeys (more)

Visitor to the forest

Visitor to the forest


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