Kandy is a major city in Sri Lanka, located in the Central Province. It is the second largest city in the country after Colombo. It was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka and lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations comprising mainly of tea. Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. It is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.
The city and the region has been known by many different names and scholars suggest that the original name of Kandy was Katubulu Nuwara located near present Watapuluwa. However the more popular historical name is Senkadagala or Senkadagalapura, officially Senkadagala Siriwardhana Maha Nuwara (meaning ‘great city of Senkadagala of growing resplendence), generally shortened to ‘Maha Nuwara’. According to folklore this name originated from one of the several possible sources. One being the city was named after a brahmin with the name Senkanda who lived in a cave nearby, and another being a queen of Vikramabahu III was named Senkanda, and after a coloured stone named Senkadagala. The Kingdom of Kandy has also been known by various names. The English name Kandy, which originated during the colonial era, is derived from an Anglicized version of the Sinhalese Kanda Uda Rata (meaning the land on the mountain) or Kanda Uda Pas Rata (the five counties/countries on the mountain). The Portuguese shortened this to “Candea”, using the name for both the kingdom and its capital. In Sinhalese, Kandy is called Maha nuwara, meaning “Great City” or “Capital”, although this is most often shortened to Nuwara. The top sites to visit in Kandy unclude:
On the north shore of the lake, which is enclosed by a parapet of white stone dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, are the city’s official religious monuments, including the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth, known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa (daḷadā māligāva). Reconstructed in the 18th century, the Dalanda Maligawa is built on a base of granite that was inspired by the temples of Sri Lanka’s former capital city, Anuradhapura. An array of materials (limestone, marble, sculpted wood, ivory, etc.) contribute to the richness of this temple. Throughout this small holy city, a number of recent Buddhist monasteries can be found.
The monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of construction that associates the Royal Palace and The Temple of the Tooth (Palace of the tooth relic). It is the place that houses the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom, it is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world. It was last of a series of temples built in the places where the relic, the actual palladium of the Sinhalese monarchy, was brought following the various relocations of the capital city.