The famous citadel of Kandy, nestled amidst surrounding undulating hills, is the magnificent location from where the previous kings of Kandy reigned. Kandy was the last place in Sri Lanka to be captured by the British, after failed attempts by the Portuguese and the Dutch to capture the king’s throne. Previously the country was invaded in the main coastal areas, but Kandy was able to hold off the defenders due to its strategic inland and uphill location.
One of the main highlights to see in Kandy is the Sri Dalada Maligawa, otherwise referred to the Temple of the Tooth of Lord Buddha. This architectural gem sits by Kandy’s lake and is frequented by Sri Lankan and international visitors alike. The temple is the most important place for Buddhists to worship in Sri Lanka, and every year there is a huge processional festival called the Perahera. This colourful and noisy pageant has decorated elephants in the procession, and these elephants often walk up to 12 days to reach Kandy from various parts of the country. The temple itself is ornately decorated and is usually very busy with Buddhists coming to pay their respects. A highlight for many visitors is to see the enormous elephant called Raja, who was the temple elephant for many years and had the distinction of carrying the relic of the tooth of Lord Buddha for many years at the Perahera celebrations. There was much sorrow at his passing, but through the practice of taxidermy, he is immortalised as a unique feature of the temple.