Kandy is a magical city, 500 meters above sea level and the capital of the hill country of Sri Lanka and was the final strong hold of the last Sri lankan King before being defeated by the British Empire prior to its occupation.
The lake in the heart of the city provides a tranquil setting with houses built on the slopes of the hills, looking down onto the lake. The town centre is close to the lake with several restaurants, shops and hotels.
Kandy is a key tourist destination with the celebrated Temple of the Tooth Relic and offers visitors memorable experiences when they stroll through its busy yet charming streets.
Kandy is presently Sri Lanka’s second largest city but quite different from Colombo due to the hills and cooler climate.
Temple of the Tooth Relic – the symbol of sovereignty
The Sacred Tooth Relic, housed in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy is an object of veneration to Buddhists and the most important sacred relic in the country. The temple is one of the most sacred places in the world for Buddhists.
From ancient times kings who have possessed the Sacred Tooth Relic in their kingdoms did so as a symbol of power and prosperity.
History data states that the Tooth Relic was initially brought to the Island by Prince Dhantha and Princess Hemamali during the reign of King Kirti Sri Meghavanna (301 – 328 AD). It is a traditional belief that whoever takes possession of the Tooth Relic, ruler or invader, has the absolute power to rule the people.
The Temple is a white building with a moat near the lake. The original temple built to house the Relic was by King Vimala Dharma Suriya I in the 16th century when the Tooth Relic first came to Kandy. Several decades later the temple was renovated by King Narendra Singha which is what stands today with additions to its design by various kings. The moat, gateway, drawbridge and Octagonal Room were added by Sri Vikrama Rajasingha. The carvings on the stone doorways, the painted timber ceilings and the timber doorways richly inlaid with metal and ivory carvings should not be missed.
Today the Relic is kept in the Upper storey. An outer gold-plated casket in the shape of a dagaba or Karanduwa is kept behind a gilt railing. Inside this casket are six smaller gold and jewelled caskets. The casket can be viewed during certain hours only. The Relic inside is only shown to very special guests.