Things to Do in Kandy
Tucked into Kandy’s historical Royal Palace complex, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of Sri Lanka’s top attractions. The 18th-century Buddhist temple, part of what was once Kandy’s royal court, is revered for housing a tooth reputed to have belonged to Buddha himself, with pilgrims and tourists flocking to it as a result.
Running west of Kandy, the Alagalla Mountain Range is located deep in Sri Lanka’s heartland. At its northern end is Alagalla Mountain, a 3,740-foot (1,140-meter) peak that draws hikers eager to stand on its summit, the potato-shaped rock that gives it the nickname Potato Mountain and commands magnificent panoramic views.
One of four devales (temples) in Kandy’s Royal Palace compound, the Buddhist Natha Devale stands at the front of the royal complex. Associated with the palace’s Temple of the Tooth and believed to be Kandy’s oldest temple, this 14th-century shrine was built by King Vikramabahu III and attracts both Buddhist and Hindu followers.
Located within the grounds of Kandy’s Royal Palace, the Maha Vishnu Temple (Maha Vishnu Devalaya) is one of four holy devales (temples) linked to the palace’s Temple of the Tooth. This small complex is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, a Sri Lankan deity who is also considered the guardian of Buddhism, so it draws both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims.
Also called the International Buddhist Museum, the World Buddhist Museum in Kandy is the world’s first museum dedicated to the international story of the religion. Located within Kandy’s UNESCO-listed Temple of the Tooth complex, its exhibits chart the history, art, and practices of Buddhism worldwide, from China to Sri Lanka.