Kandy - Sri Lankan Cultural Capital

Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
Trip End Jun 11, 2014

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Saturday, March 22, 2014

Although not the official capital, Kandy is still considered
the cultural capital of Sri Lanka and was in fact the last Sinhalese capital
city to hold out against the British into the early 1800s. At about 1,600 feet
altitude Kandy is also the center of the highland region and slightly less of a
sweatfest than most low lying areas in Sri Lanka. With less than 200,000 Kandy
is also Sri Lanka’s second most populous city.

Surrounded by hills and centered around Kandy Lake, Kandy is
a quite pretty city. The most important sight is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth
relic which supposedly houses one of Buddha’s teeth, said to have been snatched
from his funeral pyre in 483 B.C. The shrine mostly dates from the 1700s and
isn’t too big so becomes very crowded with pilgrims and a few tourists too.

The other main attraction in Kandy is the Peradeniya Botanic
Gardens a few miles south of town. They are quite large and impressive in terms
of local and worldwide plants. We also did an obligatory stop at a gem cutting
plant with a large jewelry showroom. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s biggest
sources of gemstones – rubies, topaz, amethyst, and whole bunch of others – and
mining and repparing of gems constitutes one of the country’s major industries.

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