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Top Rated Attractions in Kandy

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Sri Dalada Maligawa

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the octagonal-shaped Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) is home to a sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Considered to be the most venerated place for all Buddhists, the preserved fragment was bootlegged to the island country by Princess Hemamali and her husband during the 4th Century BCE. Protected by the monarchy for ages, it was an emblem of power and influence. After having moved around several locations, it was finally decided to be housed within the royal palace of Kandy. Framed by tropical trees with the Kandy Lake at the fore, the temple complex made of white stone and red pagoda-style roofs creates a serene landscape. However the interiors of these buildings are ornately decked with ivory, lacquer and intricately carved wood. The sacred remnant is set on a gold lotus flower sheathed with gilded caskets atop a throne. It is not on view except on special occasions. During Esala Perahera, a splendid festival centered around the tooth, it is paraded around in a street procession, lavishly canopied on the back of an elephant.

Udawattakele Forest Reserve

Drenched in long history and blessed with breathtaking beauty, the Udawattakele’s name rightfully translates to “garden above the royal palace”. Overlooking the city of Kandy, the reserve forms the backdrop for the magnificent Temple of the Tooth, a Buddhist temple built in 1595 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Legend has it that a brahmin, called Senkanda, once lived in a cave in the forest, which is now a part of the reserve. Along with this holy place, three Buddhist forest monasteries and cave dwellings are also located within the reserve. The mysterious allure of the forest is enhanced by the enchanting fragrance of the cinnamon trees. The scenic park is home to diverse fauna. Roughly 80 species of birds can be found in the reserve, including the rare three-toed kingfisher, blue flycatchers, emerald doves, and Crimson-fronted barbets. Other creatures can be found here as well, including slender lorises, Asian palm civets, muntjacs, mongooses and Indian flying foxes. Best explored by hiking trails, the park is a spectacular natural wonder of the country.

Knuckles Mountain Range

The Knuckles mountain range, deriving its name from its resemblance to a clenched fist, is located to the West of Matale and comprises the Kirigalpotha, Gombaniya, Knuckes, Kobanillagala and Dolulugala mountains. A somnolent paradise by day, by night a brooding landscape cloaked in a cold grey mist, the range abounds in a rich variety of plant and animal life, several of which are endemic to Sri Lanka, some confined to the range and little known to science. The range has been declared a natural reserve.

Devon Falls

Cutting like a swathe of diamonds through the surrounding emerald jungle, Devon Falls is a stunning natural wonder that is not to be missed. The picturesque falls are located just outside of the Sri Lankan town of Talawakele in the Nuwara Eliya District. The shining waters of Kothmale Oya, the longest tributary of the Mahaweli River, pour over the edge of a cliff and fall 97 meters (318 feet) into the rocky pool below. The falls takes its name from an English pioneer who explored the area in the hopes of setting up a coffee plantation. His dream came to fruition and the plantation still stands near the falls. Visitors to the area can spot the falls while driving along Highway A7; there is a parking lot and an excellent view from which to snap photos of Devon Falls.

St. Clair's Falls

Known commonly as the “Little Niagara of Sri Lanka,” St. Clair Falls is not to be missed while exploring the countryside outside of Talawakele in the Nuwara Eliya District of Sri Lanka. The falls was given this moniker because it is one of the widest falls found in the country. Water carried by the Kotmale Oya, the longest tributary of the Mahaweli River, pours over the edge of the falls and cascades down three rocky outcrops before joining the water in the large pool below. The falls takes its name from a tea estate that is located on the land that surrounds the falls. The falls almost disappeared when the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Dam was constructed 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles) upstream from the falls. However, the Sri Lankan government has ensured that water will still reach the falls throughout the day to ensure that this natural wonder is not lost.

Ramboda Falls

Emerging from the lush and verdant jungles of Sri Lanka, Ramboda Falls is a beautiful sight to see. Waters carried by the Panna Oya, a tributary of the larger Kothmale Oya tributary, run to the edge of an outcrop and fall 109 meters (358 feet) to the ever misty pool at the base of the falls. Ramboda Falls is the 11th tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The falls can be viewed while traveling along A5 highway near the Ramboda Pass. A trail from the parking area leads out to a viewing platform, which brings visitors up close to the mighty falls. The trail generally takes 30 minutes to hike. Many locals and tourists bring picnics to enjoy beside the falls.

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