Kandy and the Places in the Vicinity

Nowhere is this rich diversity more evident than in Kandy, the charming hill capital, 465 metres above sea level. This beautiful city, with its hills, valleys, rivers, lakes, waterfalls only 116 k.m. from Colombo has its hallowed and living shrines in the many temples, churches and mosques in and around the city. Nestling midst low hills and looped by Sri Lanka’s largest rever, the Mahaveli, Kandy can still be regarded as the home of the arts and crafts, music dance and song. Kandy the last capital of the Sinhalese kings is a living record to a magnificent past.

The main town in Udarata is Kandy. This last capital of Ceylon was then known as senkadagala. In 1469 A.D. Senasammatha Vikramabahu made Kandy his Capital. King Vimaladarmasuriya I who ruled from Kandy was one of the greatest kings. Temple of tooth which is the "lode star" of the Buddhist is assigned to him.

The octagonal shaped building or the "Pattirippuwa" in front of the Temple of tooth was constructed by the last king of Kandy king Sri Wikramarajasingha. The rout to Kandy or Senkadagala is difficult one–Via the 4 passes Kadugannawa, Ranboda, Galagedara and Balakaduwa. Hence it is a well protected city. The Kandy lake infront of the temple gives an added beauty to the city.

Temple of the Tooth–Kandy

During the regin of king kitsiri Mevan the Tooth Relic was brought to Ceylon from Kalinga by princess Hemamali and prince Danta. The Tooth Relic was considered as the symbol of kingship and became the most sacred object of worship in the island. It was customary for the kings to build a temple near the place, and to become its custodian. The tooth Relic was taken to Polonnaruwa, Beligala Dabadeniya and Yapahuwa,the capitals of ancient Ceylon. It was Aryachakravarti who seized the Tooth Relic and fled to India. However King Parakramabahu III was able to bring the relic back to Sri Lanka.

It was king Vimaladarmasuriya I who brought back the Tooth Relic to Kandy. The Tooth Relic temple build by him was renovated by his son Veera Parakrama Narendrasingha and Kirti Sri Rajasinghe respectively. King Sri Wickramarajasingha built the Pattirippuwa or the Octganal shaped building. A new building was constructed to enclose the ancient temple without changing its architecture. The Tooth Relic is placed in the old shrine.

At anytime of the year Kandy is a romantic city, but in August the ancient capital becomes the venue for one of the most legendary festivals in Asia. Dominating Kandy is the Dalada Maligawa,the temple of the tooth Relic with the Kandy Lake in the foreground. Rituals are enacted daily in the temple to nenerate the Relic, accompanied by flute playing and drumming. Public honour is paid to it when the Esala Perahara is held in July/August each year.

Trumpets, conches and drums beat out a rhythem for the dancers. Elephants decked with golden attire precede the lofted sacred casket late into the hight. The holiest of festivals is transferred into an unforgettable spectacle and grandeur.

Madawala Vihara

Is located in the Mahanuwara district in Medaoya pattuwa in the village of Madawala and 9.6 k.m. from Kandy. There are 3 bus routes to Madawala. They are bokkavala Road through Hataraliyadda, the road through Ranawana and the road through ambatenna. Travelling from Kandy one could reach Katugasthota and use anyone of these roads.

This Temple is Popular for its wall paintings. As the shrine room is constructed on stones pillars, it is known as "Thampita Pilimage". Construting shrines of this nature was popular during the Kandy period. These buildings were on stone pillars about 2 or 3 feet above the ground, was with wooden floors. This small temple is 13–3/4 ft. in length and 9 ½ ft. in breadth. The walls were made of wattle and "daub" and is about 8 feet in height. In the centure is the statue of the Buddha, above it is the magnificent "Makara Thorana" or the Dragon archway and is in painted stucco.

There is a 4ft. platform surronnding the Vihara, Where people could go round and worship. The 2 tiered roof is over laid with a special type of tile. The paintings of the Vihara include:"Animisa locana Pujawa" the dancers, Adem’s peak, Divaguhawa, Uraga Jataka and some other paintings. These paintings shows that the traditional style which is akin to the kandyan period is followed.

Aluthnuwara Devale

This is situated on the Colombo–Kandy road, in the village of Hingula and constructed by King Pandita Parakramabahu Iv. During the reign of king Buvabekabahu who ruled from yapahuwa, it is believed that a statue of a god made of sapu (Kind of Wood) was placed here. This was earlier dedicated to God Upulvan, and it is presently known as Dedimunda Devale. The reason for this is during the reigh of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha the statue of god Upulvan that was placed here was taken to Kandy. Dedimunda is god Upulvan’s chief Minister. A Devale dedicated to God Huniyan who was a chief serviceman of God Dedimunda is also found here. The Devale consists of 7 storeys.

Embakke Devale

Is located at Udunuwara in the Kandy District. From Peradeniya between the 3rd and 4th mile posts on Alakolanga and Pilimathalawa Road. Proceeding about a mile along welamboda road, and after passing a paddy field, Embekke Devale could be reached. This is about a mile from Lankatilaka Vihara.

The Devale consists of 3 sections. They are 1.Devae 2.Dig–ge 3.Hevisi Mandapa. This is dedicated to God Kataragama, and assigned to king Vikramabahu III (1357–1374 A.D.) who ruled from Gampola. This is famed for its superb woodn pillars, intricately carved at the hevisi Mandapaya.

These pillars leap to life with dancers, musicans, wrestlers, soldiers legendary beasts and birds. These have been carved by an artist named Devendra Mulavari.

Lankatilaka Viharaya

Is situated on Colombo–Kandy Road. Turn off from the 65th mail post, proceeding about 3 miles this vihara could be reached. This is assigned to king Buvanekabahu IV who ruled from Gampola (1341-1351 A.D.) this viharaya is made of bricks and stucco. At the main entrance is the Makara Thorana or Dragon archway. On the 2 side of the stairway are 2 figures of a lion and an elephant (face of an elephant and body of a lion) around the building are 14 figures of elephants and 5 small Makara Thoranas. On either side of the inner door are 4 guard stones. Lankatilaka has great carved doors of wood, and frescoes still bright with their original paint on walls and ceilings.

Gadaladeniya Viharaya

Which is built of stone is scenically sited and located on the same road as the lankatilaka Viharaya. Gadaladeniya rock inscriptions records that this is assigned to senadilankara, one of the minister’s of king Bhuvanekabahu IV. In front of the vihara there is a pandol with stone pillars. On the lower section of the pandol, are carved figures of dancers and singers vertically projected. In the upper section are carved figures of lions. The moonstone, figures of elephants, and the face of elephant with the body of a lion (Gaja sinha) are carved on the stone. Dig–geya is a hall 100 ft in length adjoining the shrine. Round the stupa are 4 altars and 8 figures of elephants . It was then known as "Saddharma Thilaka Vihara". The lacqured doors, wall murals and carved stone friezes are worth seeing.

Ambulugala Viharaya

Located in the Galboda Korale close to Hatara Korale on the Egodagoda Pattuwa is Ambulugala Viharaya. This is also an example of the Kandyan period architecture, where the Vihara is constructed on stone pillaes. It is said that the Tooth Relic was placed here during a certain period. King Parakramabahu IV who ruled from Kotte, is supposed to have lived here in his childhood. This Vihara would have been built here to commemorate it. On a foundation of 26X18 feet are 2 rows of granite pillars. The granite pillars of the inner row are 9.10 feet in height, while the granite pillars of the outer row are 8.9 feet in neight. The image house is on wooden pillars and planks and is 10–1/2 ft, in length and 7 feet in breadth. A verandha is built round the image house. From the base upto the ceiling is 8.3 ft in height.


Is the Temple in the ancient style. Three miles away from the city of Kandy is the ferry at Lewella. Close to it, in the village of sirimalwatta, is where Degaldoruwa temple is situated. This cave temple is constructed by King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha and is believed to be dedicated to Morawaka Dhammakkanda Thera. The Makara thorana at the entrance to the Vihara is made of wood. The carving of birds is seen on the figure of Makara (Dragon).

The Verandah outside the temple consists of a roof, constructed on 12 wooden pillars in the shape of an octagon. The cloth pasted on the wooden ceiling has different designs decorated on it. The valuable paintings, the frescoes. Depicting the Buddhist Jataka tales represented as scenes from everyday life in contemporary Kandy are some of the finest examples of their kind and has won the admiration of the artisis. These picture have been brawn by an artist known as Devaragampola Selawatenna. (These paintings are akin to those of the Kandy period and have been acclaimed to be very valuable)

The pilgrims who pay homepage to the places of worship in Kandy, always proceed through the city of Matale going northwards they visit a number of other places of worship. They are in the following order Aluvihara, Nalanda Gedige, and Dambulla Raja Maha Vihara. Although Sigiriya is not a place of worship but fortress, the pilgrims have never fail to visit Sigiriya, as it is on the same route.