The citadel of Kandy

Ruwandi Perera visits a city that was once an ancient hill capital

If you’re not originally from Kandy, and have been born and bred in the lower geographies of the island, you’ll find yourself in a strange place when you enter this mountainous terrain with its chilly breezes, cool climate, lush greenery and slow pace of life. Kandy is a sleepy city that goes to bed early.

Though historically known as ‘Senkadagalapura,’ it was referred to as ‘Kandy’ by the British since it sounded like the Sinhala word for mountain (kanda). Today, Kandy is where colonial antiquity meets ancient history and offers you a unique blend of a city that’s a living museum of a bygone era in Sri Lanka.

From the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) to the old palace and Kandy Post Office to the Ceylon Tea Museum, there’s always something ancient to see in this historic citadel. Even the old houses here are charming and full of character; and in some respects, life doesn’t seem to have changed much since colonial times…

While you won’t be able to cover everything in Kandy – its history, cuisine, natural beauty and adventures – in one trip, a visit here will definitely make you want to return many times over.