Kandy
Art & Museums

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Our most recommended Kandy Art & Museums

Kandy: Temples, Gardens & Cultural Show City Highlights Tour

1. Kandy: Temples, Gardens & Cultural Show City Highlights Tour

Enjoy a full day of Kandyan culture that takes you from gardens to temples to a cultural show. Start your day with hotel pickup at 9:00 AM in Kandy and head to your first stop, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. These gardens have a long history dating back to the British Era, and were used during WWII as Allied Forces Headquarters for the Asian Region. Now, the garden houses thousands of beautiful plant species, so you’ll want to spend the full 2 hours allocated here wandering the gardens.   Afterwards, continue on to visit the Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara in Bahiravakanda. This monastery on a hill is used as a meeting center for National and International Buddhist Relations, and boasts a giant Buddha statue that can be seen from all over Kandy. Climb up to reach a viewpoint that gives you the ultimate panoramic views of Kandy and take some photos.   Return to Kandy for lunch, where you’ll be given approximately an hour of free time. In the afternoon, visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of the Tooth. This temple has a burgeoning history spanning several centuries and is the home of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. Formerly a palace complex for Kandyan kings, these beautiful buildings show their royal roots through their architecture.  At 4:30, enjoy a spectacular Kandy Cultural Show, which will give you the opportunity to watch various traditional Kandyan dances and acts, such as the demon dance, the fire dance, and much more. Once the show is over, you’ll be returned to your hotel at around 5:30, completing this full day.

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From Kandy: The Temple Run Tour

2. From Kandy: The Temple Run Tour

Spend a day immersed in Sri Lankan history: see a series of very different temples in the morning, followed by a visit to the sacred Temple of the Tooth. After pickup from your hotel at 8:00 AM, head to your first stop: Embekke Temple. Admire the exquisitely-carved wood panels that cover the pillars, walls, and roof of this unique temple. Then, leave for Gadaladeniya Vihara, a temple built just before Embekke in the early 14th century. Feast your eyes on the magnificent giant golden Buddha statue. Your next stop will be Lankatilaka Temple, built in the same period as the Gadaladeniya Temple by the same king. Admire the temple's palace-like architecture; the image house is especially beautiful.   Next, head to Degaldoruwa Cave Temple, a temple built into a cave in a large rock. See the colorful Buddhist paintings from the Kandyan era which entirely cover the inside of the temple. After soaking in these fascinating and beautiful temples, head back to Kandy City at around 1:00 PM. Back in Kandy, break for lunch at the restaurant of your choice. Afterward, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of the Tooth. This temple was once a royal palace complex and houses what is said to be a tooth of Buddha. Discover the complex's royal roots with white, gold, and wooden architecture. Get dropped off back at your hotel at 5:00 PM, just in time for dinner.

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Kandy: All-Inclusive Afternoon City Tour

3. Kandy: All-Inclusive Afternoon City Tour

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your hotel at 1:30PM for an unforgettable afternoon in the city of Kandy. You will first visit the Peradeniya Botanical Garden, which is renowned for bundles of varieties of plants including orchids, spices, medicinal plants, and palm trees. At 4:00PM you will enjoy an upper lake drive, also enjoying the birds-eye view of Kandy before proceeding to a Kandyan cultural center. It is at this cultural center that you will enjoy a memorable cultural show, which starts at 4:30PM. At 6:00PM you will visit the Kandy Temple where you will attend the Pooja Ceremony. Offerings of flowers will be laid before the sacred tooth’s chamber, prayers will fill the room, and drummers will fill the air with rhythmic song. People will also line up for the chance to catch a glimpse of the golden case up close. Following this spiritual experience, you will be returned to your hotel at which point your tour will end.

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From Kandy: Traditional Spices and Crafts Tour

4. From Kandy: Traditional Spices and Crafts Tour

Start your spice and crafts tour at Euphoria Spice and Herbal Gardens in Matale, where you will learn all about the spices and herbs of Sri Lanka and how they are grown and processed. Discover how to use them to their fullest in the spice gardens before visiting the Jayamali Batik Factory. Despite being named a factory, this craft industry isn't as large scale as you would expect from its name. Instead, it involves a few expert craftspeople, usually women, and a few apprentices. See the elaborate batik-making process and learn all about how this traditional cloth is made. Next, discover the process of wood carving and learn more about the types of wood used. Visit the gem museum, learn about the gem industry in Sri Lanka, and the gem crafting process to close out the tour.

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From Colombo: Anuradhapura Day Tour

5. From Colombo: Anuradhapura Day Tour

Following hotel pick-up by your driver and guide at 06:00 in the morning from Colombo City area, you'll start for Anuradhapura. On arrival at Anuradhapura your first stop will be the Anuradhapura World Heritage Site and ruins. Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its well-preserved ruins depicting the illustrious ancient Lankan civilization. There are several interesting locations one can visit, namely, the majestic Ruwanweliseya Stupa, one of the largest structures of the ancient world, Brazen Palace with its 1,600 stone columns showing the remnants of a multi-storied residence for monks, Isurumuniya rock carving of ‘The Two Lovers’, the twin ponds used by Buddhist monks as a bathing pool and Thuparama Dagoba, the oldest Dagoba in the country believed to enshrine the collarbone of the Buddha himself and several other dagobas. Next you'll head to explore Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. The Sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura is reckoned as the oldest surviving historical tree in the world. It was brought to Sri Lanka by the Theri Sangamitta, daughter of Emperor Asoka and was planted in the Mahameghavana Park in Anuradhapura in 249 BC by King Devanampiyatissa. It is said to be the southern branch of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment. Then start for Jethawanaramaya Stupa. The Jethawana stupa, the central ritual monument of the Jethawana monastery, had a diameter of 370 feet. Established in the 3rd century A.D., the monastery was the residence of 3,000 monks. Recent excavations confirm that the foundation of the stupa was 28 feet deep and rested on bedrock. This stupa, the tallest brick structure in the world, was built in keeping with engineering principles which are fol­lowed even today.  You'll explore Abhayagiri Dagoba. The Abhayagiri Dagoba is the second biggest brick structure in the world after the Jetavana Dagoba. It was built by King Gajabahu (114-136 AD) and reaches a height of 370 feet (115m). After lunch at local restaurant by your own cost proceed to Moonstone or Sandakada pahana. Sandakada pahana, also known as Moon-stone, is a unique feature of the Sri Lankan Buddhist architecture of ancient Sri Lanka.It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances. First seen in the latter stage of the Anuradhapura period, the sandakada pahana evolved through the Polonnaruwa, Gampola and Kandy period. Later visit Mihintale. Mihintale hill is the spot where King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura met Mahinda, a Buddhist monk and son of the Indian Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka. Mahinda asked the king a riddle and when the king was able to solve it, Mahinda deemed him to be a worthy disciple and converted him to Buddhism. There are religious monuments all over the hill, and the ruins of a monastery and a hospital. At approximately 20:00, you'll arrive back at your hotel in Colombo where the tour will end.

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Kandy: Historical Three Temples All-Inclusive Tour

6. Kandy: Historical Three Temples All-Inclusive Tour

Visiting three of the most ancient and historically important temples that are within an easy walking distance to one another is a memorable expedition for a heritage lover. The three temples (Embekke, Lankathilaka, Gadaladeniya) have been built in the 14th century before the Kandyan Kingdom was fully established. This tour finished at approximately 12:30 PM, when you are returned to your hotel.  Be picked up at 8:00 AM from your hotel lobby in Kandy. Arrive at your first temple by 9:00 AM. Embekke is a crafted work of wooden dedication. Look at the pillars or drum hall with unique designs on each side. Appreciate the care and effort in shapping swans, peakcocks, wrestlers, dragons and more. Hear about the history of this temple, and the importance it has represented for the culture. Visit Lankatilake Temple by 9:45 AM. Lankatilake is perhaps the finest temple in the district. An impressively solid-looking structure built on a huge rock outcrop and painted a pale blue rather than the usual white.  Then next visit Gadaladeniya Temple, built on a rocky outcrop and covered with small pools, the temple is reached by a series of steps cut into the rock. This Buddhist temple with a Hindu extension is a similar age to the Lankatilake Temple and the Embekka Devale.

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From Dambulla: Kandy Day Trip

7. From Dambulla: Kandy Day Trip

Start your day trip with a pickup at 7:00 AM from your hotel in Dambulla. Bring a packed breakfast with you if you are unable to have your meal at the hotel. Reach Kandy by 9:30 AM and go to your first destination in the city, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Learn about the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha and its importance throughout the history of Sri Lanka. Also, view the beautiful architecture of the palace and look at the many golden figurines in the shrine. At approximately 11:00 AM go on a tour to see the crafts of traditional artisans of Kandy, such as gem crafters, woodcarvers and batik makers. You will get to see the process of how the artisans do their work and purchase some unique souvenirs if you'd like. Finish the tour by 1:00 PM and break for lunch at a local restaurant of your choice. After an enjoyable meal, head to the next leg of your tour at about 2:30 PM. Go to the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya and explore the grounds hosting gardens of over 4000 plant species, including an exclusive collection of orchids, spices, and medicinal plants. Also, have the chance to see famous plants such as the Cannonball Tree, the Giant Javan Fig tree, and Burma bamboo. Complete your tour of the botanical gardens by around 5:00 PM and return to your hotel in Dambulla.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kandy

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