The city of Kandy

If there is one city that is worth exploring on a trip to Sri Lanka, we think it is Kandy! Once home to the kings and queens of the country (the lake that lies at the heart of the city even has a secret underground passageway that was once used by a queen), Kandy’s current inhabitants treat the city with equal measures of veneration and practicality. An ancient building might be promoted as a tourist attraction, or be used with complete indifference as a guard post by the city police. The centre throngs with crowds of people and a hotchpotch of old stores (where you are still handed handwritten illegible receipts on scraps of paper!), while masses of cars, lorries and busses noisily navigate the narrow and bustling roads of the city. At a rather more leisurely pace, elephants trundle past for their baths in the city lake, and vendors sell flowers – lotus and nelum – along the pavements. In the flower season, the trees around the lake turn pink and the lake becomes a large float for the petals that fall in a soft drift down towards it. The most famous feature of the city is the Temple of the Tooth, which Buddhist devotees believe houses a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha.