Kandy is a delightful little city with an old-world charm. Whether you are wandering around the Dalada Maligawa or pottering about the streets of the town, you can never miss the slower pace and gentler attitudes of the people. Even the busy bustling streets are deserted and quiet after dark, and most exchanges with locals will leave with a feeling of peace and calm. Here are a few snapshots from our time there.
The most visited attraction in Kandy is also its most shining jewel, and an important religious center for Buddhists from all over Sri Lanka. For a place that is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists every day, the temple is curiously peaceful. It is a living temple and you will come across people – both monks and lay folk – at prayer or in deep contemplation. The buildings in the complex have been in use for centuries – the first version of the temple was built in 1595 CE. The temple is a masonry structure with a wooden superstructure, and there are elaborate decorations on many parts of it.
From a photography point of view, the temple is a treasure trove. The image of the temple is an enduring one, and has been used to represent Kandy as a travel destination for a long time.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
A 90-minute drive away from Kandy is the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Located on the banks of the Maha Oya river, it is a favorite destination for both local and foreign visitors. Twice a day, a herd of elephants walk from the orphanage down to the river, where they spend some time in the water before walking back. Visitors from all over line the streets to watch the elephants pass, and them follow them down to the river where they watch the giants frolic in the water.
The Empire Cafe
Situated right by the Dalada Maligawa, the Empire Cafe is an atmospheric place to spend an hour or an afternoon. Brightly colored walls and kitschy interiors make it a visual treat. They make a good tea, and their coconut ice cream is a must-have. The walls are adorned with retro posters from Stick No Bills, a Galle-based poster company – they make great souvenirs, and you can actually buy some of them right there.
Kandy is one of the places in my “keep going back there” list, and I will be back there before long!