When it comes to holidaying in the hill capital, those who are based at Jetwing Kandy Gallery will have plenty to write home about in terms of activities and excursions. Here are some of the best places to explore and the top things to do during a trip to what was once the Kandyan Kingdom.
As one of the most popular places to visit around Kandy, most travellers will come across the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage on their way to the capital of the central province. As a conservation hub dedicated to protecting and caring for injured and displaced elephants, the orphanage is one of the island’s biggest success stories. Visitors can not only enjoy watching the elephants bathe in a nearby river but also take part in feeding and grooming activities if they wish to get more up close and personal with the majestic creatures.
Nature lovers based at Jetwing Kandy Gallery can also take a walk on the wild side with a tour of the verdant Udawattekele Forest Reserve. Known as a hiking hotspot for beginners as well as seasoned trekkers, the lush surroundings of this wildlife hub are also home to countless mammals, reptiles and winged beauties. The hiking trail around the reserve is 5km in length and also includes attractions such as a water pond and the Senkanda Cave.
Located just 6km away from the heart of Kandy City, the Royal Botanical Gardens or the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens as it is also known is one of the country’s oldest horticultural attractions. As one of the most beautiful places near Kandy, the picturesque enclosure not only includes a rose garden and a medicinal garden but also palm-tree-lined avenues and various plants that have been brought over from different countries. Established by British colonizers, the Royal Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest parks in the area where one can enjoy a quiet evening stroll or have a picnic with loved ones.
Dating back to the 14th century, the Lankathilaka Vihara is not only one of the oldest temples in the Central Province but also one of the most interesting places around Kandy to visit. As a spiritual point of interest with a complex history, the Lankathilaka Vihara is considered both a Buddhist landmark as well as a place of worship for Hindu devotees. The stone inscriptions written in both Sinhala and Tamil, script the ancient statues of Lord Buddha as well as the elephant figures denote this multi-cultural legacy.
No trip to Kandy would be complete without exploring some of the other religious landmarks that are located outside of its immediate confines and the iconic Temple of the Tooth. The Embekke Devalaya is one such locale devoted to the worship of the Hindu God Mahasen. Famed for its beautifully carved wooden pillars with human and animal motifs, some of the other locations of interest inside the temple include the Drummers’ Hall, Sanctum of Garagha and the Dancing Hall.
As a venue that affords panoramic views of Kandy from its elevated height the Bahirawakanda Buddha statue is an observation point like no other in the hill capital. Located atop its namesake hill, the sculpture itself is 27m tall and is visible from nearly every street corner in Kandy. Ranked among the most beautiful places near Kandy to catch the sunset, the best time to hike up Bahirawa Kanda Hill is in the late afternoon.