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Kandy is a Mecca for Buddhists in South Asia

Kandy is a tranquil city with superb air quality and lush green environment. Its main attractions are Buddha sacred tooth temple and Kandy annual cultural festival.

I was stayed in Kandy for a year in 1998 as an expat for a US company. I hope I will visit the city in future.

The only drawback is no night entertainment and only one Chinese restaurant operated by locals was available at that time.

My running nose chronic illness since my childhood was fully cured after my stay in Kandy. I was not realized my illness was cured until I back to Malaysia. This is an invaluable gift I got from Kandy.

Kandy a garden city with ancient buildings
By Shanika Pitigala Sunday, 11 November 2012

The clock ticks, reminding that times passes by, second by second, minute by minute and on and on. Changes taking place every second and at the blink of any eye. Centuries have gone by, ruling passed on from Kings to Kings and then to governments, leaving for us in the many structures, a glimpse what it was in the many many decades ago.

Walking along the shady paths, I try to picture how this ancient city would have looked during the times of ancient kings. Kandy, the last kingdom in Sri Lanka until ceding to the British, is surrounded by natural defenses making it difficult for invaders to reach and endowed with lush green surroundings, is as beautiful now, as it was then.

The British, who ruled for several decades, built new structures in the hill capital, Maha Nuwara, and the city began to take on a more English look, in its own way. Today, after many decades, Kandy, has not lost its beauty with the passing of time.

Dalada Maligawa, the main attraction of Kandy, a World Heritage Site now holds the Sacred Tooth Relic of Gautama Buddha; has a great history and is a treasure trove of architectural importance. Though, damaged by an explosion, the structure still stands majestic opposite the Kandy Lake and is held in reverence by all. Are words needed to describe the architecture and the craftsmanship of the Maligawa?

Walking further down the street one comes across, the Queens Hotel, situated right opposite the Temple of the Tooth Relic, an example of excellence in British architecture. Originally the Governor’s residence, a small part of the building was set aside for house troops and later became the main complex of the Ceylon Riffle Regiment and then converted into one of the finest hotels in Kandy. A walk along its corridors, as one gets a glimpse of the Kandy Lake an indescribable feeling overtakes, taking one back in time, to think of how it would have been during the days of the British when armed troops were marching the corridors where military plans were being made?

The Lake is significantly attractive with the view of the Maligawa. The Kandy Museum formerly home to the Kandyan royal concubines is another star attraction. St Paul’s Church, located right beside the Maligawa, is a great construction which has adorned this city corner for over 150 years. It was by chance that I had the privilege many years back to walk in and out of the doors, of this church, to look right across, through the colored glasses.

Kandy is home to over 400 ancient building that are listed under Heritage Sites, with another 192 buildings being listed as Archaeological Buildings, a small town but rich in architecture. One might wonder, are there so many, well yes, there are, but the doubt is as to whether they are being conserved properly.

As for the streets of Kandy, a large number of new buildings have come up making it more and more congested. The streets that were built to accommodate only about 16 horse carriages now accommodate nearly 55,000 vehicles a day.

The Lake, the Maligawa, and the Queens Hotel, remain almost the same in appearance, depicting a rich and proud culture and also reminding us of the British rulers. There are many other buildings but they have not been mentioned here, as the list is far too long. Some of them were constructed during the days of the British while some in and around Kandy dates to a period before the British – mansions that belonged to the landed gentry, also the temples and other religious constructions.

There are several very old houses, within the Kandy city limits, which have stood for generations, but are now being pulled down as Kandy gets more and more commercialized.

The lush greenery of the city surroundings are now being converted to concrete with the felling of trees and construction of hotels and other commercial buildings. However, the city which has earned a World Heritage Site listing needs to be taken greater care of, its ancient buildings preserved, to look as they did a hundred years ago, to another hundred years to come.

Courtesy of The Nation,

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