Coordinates: 7°17′47″N 80°38′6″E / 7.29639°N 80.63500°E / 7.29639; 80.63500
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Sri Lanka Time)
Postal code
Area code081

Kandy (

Buddhist rulers resisted Portuguese, Dutch, and British
colonial expansion and occupation.


The city and the region have been known by many different names and versions of those names. Some scholars suggest that the original name of Kandy was Katubulu Nuwara located near the present Watapuluwa. However, the more popular historical name is Senkadagala or Senkadagalapura, officially Senkadagala Siriwardhana Maha Nuwara (meaning 'great city of Senkadagala of growing resplendence'), generally shortened to 'Maha Nuwara'. According to folklore, this name originated from one of the several possible sources. One being the city was named after a brahmin with the name Senkanda who lived in a cave nearby, and another being a queen of Vikramabahu III was named Senkanda, and after a coloured stone named Senkadagala. The Kingdom of Kandy has also been known by various names. The English name Kandy, which originated during the colonial era, is derived from an anglicised version of the Sinhala Kanda Uda Rata (meaning the land on the mountain) or Kanda Uda Pas Rata (the five counties/countries on the mountain). The Portuguese shortened this to "Candea", using the name for both the kingdom and its capital. In Sinhala, Kandy is called Maha Nuwara, meaning "Great City" or "The Capital", although this is most often shortened to Nuwara in daily use.[3]



Historical records suggest that Kandy was first established by the Vikramabahu III (1357–1374 AD), who was the monarch of the Kingdom of Gampola, north of the present city, and named Senkadagalapura at the time.

Kandyan Kingdom

Portuguese governor Pedro Lopes de Sousa welcomes Kusumasana Devi a.k.a. Dona Catharina during the campaign of Danture, 1594

Dona Catherina of Kandy (1581–1581). Dona Catherina was succeeded by Rajasinha I. Rajasinha I, however, preferred to rule the hill country from the Kingdom of Sitawaka on the west of the island. A period of turmoil for power ended with the ascent to the throne by Konappu Bandara who came to be known as Vimaladharmasuriya I. Having embraced Buddhism, he consolidated his authority further by bringing the tooth relic of the Buddha to Kandy from a place called Delgamuwa.[3]

In 1592 Kandy became the capital city of the last remaining independent kingdom in the island after the coastal regions had been conquered by the

Sinhalese–Portuguese War and the establishment of Dutch Ceylon, attempts by the Dutch
to conquer the kingdom were repelled.

The kingdom tolerated a Dutch presence on the coast of Sri Lanka, although attacks were occasionally launched. The most ambitious offensive was undertaken in 1761, when King

Kirti Sri Rajasinha attacked and overran most of the coast, leaving only the heavily fortified Negombo
intact. When a Dutch retaliatory force returned to the island in 1763, Kirti Sri Rajasinha abandoned the coastline and withdrew into the interior. When the Dutch continued to the jungles the next year, they were constantly harassed by disease, heat, lack of provisions, and Kandyan sharpshooters, who hid in the jungle and inflicted heavy losses on the Dutch.

The Dutch launched a better-adapted force

Napoleonic wars. British possession of these areas was formalized with the treaty of Amiens
in 1802. The next year the British also invaded Kandy in what became known as the First Kandyan War but were repulsed.

As the capital, Kandy had become home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha which symbolizes a 4th-century tradition that used to be linked to the Sinhalese monarchy, since the protector of the relic was the ruler of the land. Thus the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth were placed in close proximity to each other.

The last ruling dynasty of Kandy was the Nayaks. Kandy stayed independent until the early 19th century.

The Kandyan Convention signed between the British and the Kandyan chiefs in 1815

In the

(now known as Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu). Their erstwhile living place is still referred to as "Kandy Raja Aranmanai" on the eastern part of Thanjavur town on Old Mariamman Koil Road.

Colonial era

During the

small pox and privations had slain by the hundreds...Others became ignorant and apathetic. Any subsequent development efforts of the government for many years were only attempts begun and abandoned".[3]

In 1848 led by

from southern India.

The rebellion began on 26 July 1848 with Gongalegoda Banda, crowned as king, and Puran Appu, as prime minister, and their main objective was to capture Kandy back from the British. The Matale Rebellion was a peasant revolt in the hands of the

form of anti-colonial revolt to modern independence struggles. The leadership was for the first time passed from the Kandyan provinces into the hands of ordinary people or non-aristocrats.

Kandy and environs, incl the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, ca 1914

In 1944, during World War II, the South East Asia Command of the allies was moved to Kandy, where it remained until the end of the war.

Contemporary Kandy

It is the second-largest city of the island and the capital of the Central Province of modern Sri Lanka. Its geographic location has made it a major transportation hub in the island: while Kandy being the gateway to the Central Highlands[4] of Sri Lanka, the city can be reached by major motorways in every direction of the island. The railway line from Colombo, the seaport on the western coast runs via Kandy to the farthest point of Badulla[5] in the Central Highlands. The main roads Colombo-Kandy and Kandy-Nuwara Eliya[6] are two of the most scenic roads of Sri Lanka; Colombo-Kandy[7] road passes through the rubber, tea plantations and rice paddies, Kandy-Nuwara Eliya road cuts through paddy fields and seamless tea plantations. Both roads claw their way up winding, rounding over the rings of hills. Currently, feasibility studies are afoot for another highway between Colombo and Kandy via Kadawata and the scenic city of Katugastota.

Geography and climate

Panoramic view of the Kandy lake


Kandy is located in the mountainous and thickly forested interior of the island. The city is located in between multiple mountain ranges including the

Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
. Today Udawatte Kele is reducing its area.



rest of the country, especially the coastal regions. Nuwara Eliya is south to it and has a cooler climate due to its higher elevation. Nevertheless, Kandy's climate is still tropical as mean temperatures year round are above 18 °C on average. The city does experience a drier period from January to April.[9] From May through to July and October to December the region experiences its monsoon season, during this time the weather is rough and unstable. From March through the middle of May is the intermonsoonal period, during this time there is light rain and strong humidity.[10] The humidity is generally between 70% and 79%.[11]

Climate data for Kandy
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 27
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.1
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 18
Average precipitation mm (inches) 79
Average rainy days 6 5 8 14 11 15 14 13 13 17 16 14 146
Mean daily sunshine hours 7 8 8 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7
Source 1: Weather2Travel for highs, lows and sunshine,[12] Climate-Data.org for daily mean temperatures (altitude: 518 m)[8]
Source 2: World Climate Guide,[13] HolidayCheck.com,[14] World Climate[15]


View from the Arthur's seat

The city of Kandy lies at an elevation of 465 metres (1,526 ft) above sea level. Its plan developed around two open spaces: an elongated square, at the end of which are the administration buildings of the old capital, and an artificial lake that is quadrangular in form. A public garden adds to the openness of the city's spatial organization.

Kandy has now grown out to encompass Peradeniya, home to the University of Peradeniya and the Botanical Gardens, Katugastota to the north, and east to Kundasale, Tennekumbura and Gurudeniya.


Downtown Kandy


Kandy has 24 wards:[16][17]


Kandy Municipal Council

මහනුවර මහ නගර සභා
proportional representation system
Last election
2018 Sri Lankan local elections

Kandy is a

Mayor of Kandy
and the councillors are elected through local government elections held once in five years. The Head of administration is the Municipal Commissioner, who handles the day-to-day operations of the 16 departments that it is made up of.

The Kandy Municipal Council governs the City of Kandy, it was established under the Municipalities Ordinance of 1865. The inaugural meeting had been held on 20 March 1866. The Kandy Town Hall was established in the present premises known as the Dunuwille Walawwe in 1870.[19]


Cuda Ratwatte
. With further amendments to the ordinance in 1978, the Mayor became the Executive Head whilst the Commissioner was the Administrative head.

As of the 2018 election, the council consists of 41 members. The UNP has 19, the SLPP 16, the UPFA 3, the JVP 2, and the UPA one. The Council meets once a month to review the progress and decide on the implementation of its projects. Five standing committees of the council, namely Finance, Law, Works, Sports and Welfare Services (Pre-Schools, Library), also meet monthly to evaluate and recommend to Council relative matters for approval.


Kandy is a Sinhalese majority city; there are sizable communities belonging to other ethnic groups, such as Moors and Tamils. The city remains an important religious centre of the Sinhalese and a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, namely those belonging to the Theravada school. The Catholic Church has a diocese headquartered in the city.

Census of population (2012)

Ethnicity in Kandy (2012)
Population Percent
Sri Lankan Moors
Sri Lankan Tamils
Indian Tamils
Ethnicity Population % Of Total
Sinhalese 118,209 74.55
Sri Lankan Moors 17,282 10.90
Sri Lankan Tamils 15,203 9.59
Indian Tamils 5,601 3.53
Other (including Burgher, Malay) 2,269 1.43
Total 158,564 100


Population by ethnicity according to urban area (2007)

Ethnicity in Kandy (2007)
Population Percent
Sri Lankan Moors
Sri Lankan Tamils
Indian Tamils
Ethnicity Population % Of Total
Sinhalese 77,560 70.48
Sri Lankan Moors 15,326 13.93
Sri Lankan Tamils 9,427 8.57
Indian Tamils 5,245 4.77
Other (including Burgher, Malay) 2,489 2.26
Total 110,049 100



It is the second-largest city in the island and the capital of Central Province. Many major corporations have large branch offices in Kandy and many industries including textiles, Sri Lankan gemstones, furniture, information technology, and jewellery are found there. Many agriculture research centres are located throughout the city.

Health care


National Hospital, Kandy is the second-largest medical institution in Sri Lanka, established and administered under the purview of the Ministry of Health, which remains a key hospital maintained by the Sri Lankan Government.[20]


Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya

The Dental Hospital Peradeniya and Sirimavo Bandaranaike Children's Hospitals are located adjacent to the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital.[21]



Kandy has a public transport system based primarily on buses. The bus service is operated both by private companies and the government's own Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB). The Kandy Multimodal Transport Terminal (KMTT) after constructed will integrate a major bus terminal to the Kandy railway station. KMTT will handle about 2,000 bus departures, up to 3,000 further through-services, and about 320,000 passenger movements on a daily basis. EoIs from consultants for the Design, Construction Supervision and Contract Administration of the project were called in 2016.[22]


The proposed Kandy Airport in the nearby area of Kundasale will create a direct air link to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.[23] The new airport will act as a catalyst to the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.


A-Grade highways
High-speed expressways
  • Colombo – Kandy high-speed elevated expressway running is currently under construction, providing a high-speed link between the two largest economic centres.



Kandy World Heritage Site marker

Temple of the Tooth

Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy.

On the north shore of the lake, which is enclosed by a parapet of white stone dating to the beginning of the 19th century, are the city's official religious monuments, including the

Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth, known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa (daḷadā māligāva). Reconstructed in the 18th century, the Sri Dalada Maligawa is built on a base of granite that was inspired by the temples of Sri Lanka's former capital city, Anuradhapura. An array of materials (limestone, marble, sculpted wood, ivory, etc.) contribute to the richness of this temple. Throughout this small holy city, a number of recent Buddhist monasteries
can be found.

The monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of construction that associates the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth (Palace of the tooth relic) is the place that houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom, it is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world. It was the last of a series of temples built in the places where the relic, the actual palladium of the Sinhalese monarchy, was brought following the various relocations of the capital city.

The Palace of the Tooth relic, the palace complex and the holy city of Kandy are associated with the history of the dissemination of Buddhism. The temple is the product of the last peregrination of the relic of the tooth of Buddha and the testimony of a religion which continues to be practiced today.


Sarnath Buddha
is installed in front of the museum, gifted by the Government of India.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Kandy


National Museum Kandy
which holds an extensive collection of artefacts from both the Kandy Kingdom and the British colonial rule.

Lankatilaka Temple

The Lankatilaka Temple is considered to be one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Sinhalese temple architecture.[citation needed] Built on a rock, the temple is reached by a long series of rock-cut steps. An arched passage of the image house leads through a Mandapa (hall) into the inner sanctum which is decorated with floral designs. The two side walls and the ceiling are decorated with paintings. In the inner sanctum is a large seated image of the Buddha.

Gadaladeniya Temple

The Gadaladeniya Temple's design is of South Indian origin with a Devale attached to it, similar in character to the Natha Devale and the Gedige of Adahana Maluwa. The main shrine room has a seated Buddha statue and the remains of some paintings of the Gampola period.

Among other important temples around Kandy[25] are Dodanwala Devalaya (shrine), Embekka Devalaya (shrine), Galmaduwa Vihara temple, Handagala Vihara temple, Medawala Vihara and Nalanda Gedige.

Parks and gardens

Peradeniya Botanical garden


Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is situated about 5 km to the west of the city centre at Peradeniya and is visited by 2 million people per year.[26] It is the largest botanical garden on the island extending to 147 acres (59 ha) and containing over 4000 species of plants.[26]
Knuckles Mountain Range in Kandy is a world heritage site of UNESCO. Alagalla Mountain Range also named in English as Potato Range both famous for trekking in Sri Lanka. The
Udawatta Kele (Udawatta Forest) is a protected sanctuary situated in the heart of the city, just north of the Temple of the Tooth. Known as "Uda Wasala Watta" in Sinhala
meaning, "the garden situated above the royal palace", it was designated as a forest reserve in 1856, and it became a sanctuary in 1938.


Burma during World War II and presented to the city of Kandy by Lord Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Theatre


A traditional lion statue in front of the senate building of the university

Primary and secondary education

Kandy is home to some of the island's oldest and leading schools.

Tertiary education

The country's second-oldest university, University of Peradeniya is situated in Peradeniya, while the Open University of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, the National Institute of Business Management and the College of Technology have centres in the city. Most of the private-sector higher educational institutions also have their branches in Kandy.[27]

The Geology Department at the University of Peradeniya is the only earth science department in Sri Lanka.


Sacred City of Kandy
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
CriteriaCultural: iv, vi
Inscription1988 (12th Session)

Leisure and entertainment

Esala Perahera is the prominent cultural event of the city

Kandyans do many things for leisure and entertainment in the city. Kandy is popular due to the annual

Esala Perahera,[citation needed] in which one of the inner caskets used for covering the tooth relic of Buddha is taken in a grand procession through the streets of the city. This casket is taken on a royal tusker. The procession includes traditional dancers and drummers, flag bearers of the provinces of the old Kandyan kingdom, the Nilames (lay
custodians of temples ) wearing their traditional dresses, torch-bearers, and also the grandly attired elephant. This ceremony which is annually held in the months of July or August attracts large crowds from all parts of the country and also many foreign tourists.

Kandy City Centre is commercial and shopping complex open in 2005[28] at Dalada Veediya.[29] and is the most modern commercial complex in Kandy. The complex is studded with ultra-modern features, also incorporating the traditional architecture of Kandy during the medieval period of Sri Lanka. The city centre is host to several leading banks, a fully equipped supermarket, modern restaurants, an entertainment zone including a 3-cinema complex, a well-designed state-of-the-art food court, Sri Lanka's leading bookshop, flora, and an Ayurveda site. There is a five-level car park outside managed separately by the Kandy Municipal Council and is the largest car park in Kandy.

Literature, film and television

Much of the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was shot in Kandy.


Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

Kandy has produced national-level competitors in a wide range of sports, including cricket, rugby union, Association football, swimming, field hockey, athletics, table tennis, boxing, basketball, golf, and even baseball, which has only been introduced into Kandy recently. Kandy has produced national captains of cricket and rugby and athletes that play at the highest level of all sports.

Unlike the rest of the country

Singer Sri Lankan Airlines Rugby 7's tournament is an annual international rugby union event held at the local Bogambara Stadium
, attracting nations from all over the world.

Cricket is widely played in Kandy with the city having three first-class teams in the

Kandy Falcons. Kandy is host to the Sri Lanka national cricket team with two Test status grounds, Asgiriya International Stadium and the newly built state-of-the-art Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. Both stadiums have held World Cup matches. Other cricket venues are Katugastota Oval (St.Anthony's College ground), Lake View ground at Dharmaraja College
, and Police ground Kandy.

Sports like

Cue games like billiards and snooker have hardly anyone playing. However, basketball, table tennis, badminton, and swimming are common due to the high participation of students and schools.[30]

Twin towns and sister cities

The City of Kandy has a sister city relationship with:

Country City Province Year
 Thailand Ayudhya
 China Chengdu Sichuan 2015[32]

See also


  1. ^ "Major Cultural Assets/Archaeological Sites". Department of Archaeology Sri Lanka. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Sacred City of Kandy". UNESCO. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Kandy Map". SriLankanMap. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Central highlands (Hill country) of Sri Lanka". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Badulla, Central Highlands of Sri Lanka". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Kandy – Nuwara Eliya Road". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  7. ^ "Colombo – Kandy Road". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Climate: Kandy CP (altitude: 518 m) – Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Kandy Weather". eZeeStay. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Kandy Weather and When to Go". TripAdvisor. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Kandy". tsitours. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Best Weather in Kandy, Sri Lanka". Weather2Travel. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  13. ^ www.worldclimateguide.co.uk. "Kandy Climate Guide, Sri Lanka – World Climate Guide".
  14. ^ Temperature Kandy – climate Kandy Sri Lanka (Inside) – weather Kandy Archived 25 January 2013 at archive.today
  15. ^ "World Climate: N07E080 – Weather history for travel real estate and education".
  16. ^ "City Profile". Kandy Municipal Council. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  17. ^ "City History". Kandy Municipal Council. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  18. Sunday Times
    . Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  19. ^ "The History of the Municipal Council". 19 June 2009. Archived from the original on 25 September 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  20. ^ "Home". kandy-hospital.health.gov.lk.
  21. ^ "Teaching Hospital Peradeniya". peradeniya-hospital.health.gov.lk.
  22. ^ "Consultancy for KMTT design and construction supervision" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  23. ^ Maryam Azwer (5 August 2012). "Kandy Airport Most Likely in Kundasale – Chief Minister". The Sunday Leader. Archived from the original on 11 December 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  24. ^ The splendour of International Buddhist Museum, Kandy, The Nation, Mallika Etulgama, 2011/09/18
  25. ^ "Temple Excursions Around Kandy, Sri Lanka". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  26. ^ a b Royal Botanic Gardens Peradeniya Official Guide Map 2013
  27. ^ "University of Peradeniya".
  28. ^ "Home". pfik.org.
  29. ^ "Sri Dalada Maligawa". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  30. ^ Marikar, Hafiz. "A Look at Sports in Kandy". The Sunday Leader. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  31. ^ Wimalasurendre, Cyril (22 August 2013). "Kandy becomes Ayoddhya's sister city". The Island. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  32. ^ Wimalasurendre, Cyril (7 April 2015). "Kandy ties up with sister city in China". The Island. Retrieved 5 May 2016.

Further reading

External links

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