The Kingdom of Kandy retains an almost legendary place, while for visitors, this romantic city laid out around a picture-perfect lake is a must-see. Protected by its geographical position and physical remoteness, the Kandyan Kingdom remained a stable point of reference in the island’s turbulent colonial history, preserving ancient religious and cultural traditions, which were subdued elsewhere by corrosive Western influences, until it, too, finally succumbed to the British in 1815. Despite now being the island’s second-largest city, it retains a surprisingly small-town feel. The centre’s modest grid of low-rise streets is lined with characterful colonial-era buildings and preserves a certain old-fashioned, countrified charm, which even the often dense throngs of traffic and pedestrians can’t entirely obscure.
Perched on the lakeside at the eastern end of the town centre are the serene white buildings of the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa). This is Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist temple and home to one of Buddhism’s most sacred objects, the Tooth Relic of the Buddha, which attracts pilgrims from all over the island and many other places in Asia besides.

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