Historical records suggest that Kandy was first established by the King Wickramabahu (1357-1374 CE) near the Watapuluwa area, north of the present city, and it was named Senkadagalapura at the time, although some scholars suggest the name ‘Katubulu Nuwara’ may also have been used. The origin of the more popular name for the city, Senkadagala, could have been from a number of sources. These include naming it after a brahmin named Senkanda who lived in a cave near the city, after a queen of King Wickramabahu named Senkanda or after a coloured stone named Senkadagala.
In 1592 Kandy became the capital city of the last remaining independent kingdom in Sri Lanka after the coastal regions had been conquered by the Portuguese. Invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch (16th, 17th and 18th century) and also by the British (most notably in 1803) were repelled. The last ruling dynasty of Kandy was the ‘Nayaks’ of Kandy while the Kingdom preserved its independence until it finally fell to the British in 1815. The British deposed the king, Sri Wikrama Rajasingha, and all claimants to the throne, thus ending the last traditional monarchy of Sri Lanka, and replacing it with their monarchy. As the capital, Kandy had become home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha which symbolises a 4th-century tradition that used to be linked to royalty since the protector of the relic was seen fit to rule the land. Thus, the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth were associated with the administrative and religious functions of the capital city.
Even after its conquest by the British, Kandy has preserved its function as the religious capital of the Sinhalese and a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, namely those belonging to the Theravada school.
Sri Dalada Maligawa The Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a temple in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. It was built within the royal palace complex which houses the only surviving relic of Buddha, a tooth, which is venerated by Buddhists. The relic has played an important role in the local politics since ancient times and it’s believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country, which caused the ancient kings to protect it with great effort. Kandy was the capital of the Sinhalese Kings from 1592 to 1815, fortified by the terrain of the mountains which was difficult to approach. The city is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO, partly due to the temple. Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily ritual worship in the inner chamber of the temple, in annual rotation. They conduct these services three times a day: at dawn, at noon and in the evening. On Wednesdays there is a symbolic bathing (Nanumura Mangallaya) of the Sacred Relic with a herbal preparation made from scented water and fragrant flowers.
This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among devotees who are present. The Esala Perahera in Kandy is one of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals, featuring dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, throngs of devotees and lavishly decorated elephants This is in Esala (July or August), which is a month that is believed to commemorate the first teaching by Buddha after he attained enlightenment. The Kandy Esala Perahera lasts for ten days while the Sinhalese term ‘perahera’ means a parade of musicians, dancers, singers, acrobats and various other performers accompanied by a large number of caparisoned Tuskers and other elephants parading the streets in celebration of a religious event.
The worship of corporeal remains of the Buddha, as recorded in the ‘Mahaparinibbana-sutta’ (the Record of the Demise of the Buddha), was sanctioned by Buddha himself on the verge of his passing away. The Buddha declared that four noble persons are worthy of their bodily remains being enshrined and honoured, the Buddha, the Personal Buddhas (Pacceka Buddhas,) the Arahanths (Buddha’s disciples) and the Universal Monarchs ( Cakkavatti kings). The bodily remains of the Buddha, after their distribution among various states that claimed the relics, were enshrined in the funerary mounds known as ‘stupa’. However, the four canine Teeth were said to have been separately enshrined and worshipped. The right canine was worshipped in the heavenly domain of the king of gods, Sakra, while another was worshipped by the king of Gandhara in modern Pakistan. The third was taken away by the Nagas and worshipped placing it in a golden shrine room.
The fourth, the left canine was removed from the funerary ashes by a monk and was handed over to the king of Kalinga in Eastern India, as recorded in the Digha Nikaya. Thenceforth, the Tooth relic of the Kalinga became an object of great veneration by generations of Kalinga kings until it earned the wrath of ‘brahmanical followers’, and consequently several attempts were made to destroy the Relic by the fanatical rulers. Yet, the Tooth relic was miraculously saved from such atrocities. For this reason, the kings of other states attempted to possess the Tooth relic for personal veneration. Thus, from the beginning itself, the Tooth relic came to be considered as an important symbol of veneration. The last Indian ruler to possess the Tooth relic was Guhasiva of Kalinga (c.4th century AD).
The final attempt made by a neighbouring state to make war with Guhasiva for the possession of the Tooth relic caused this venerated relic to leave the Indian shores. By this time, Buddhism was well rooted in Sri Lanka, and the island rulers maintained close relations with the Indian states that fostered Buddhism. Apparently, it was for this reason that the Kalinga ruler, in imminent danger of losing in battle, decided to send the Tooth relic to his friend, the Sri Lankan king.
After about eight centuries of its Existence in India, the Tooth relic was secretly taken away by Danta and Hemamala, said to be the son-in-law and daughter of Guhasiva. The literary works like Dathavamsa, Daladasirita and the chronicle Mahavamsa, record many and varied vicissitudes that the couple went through en route to Sri Lanka in order to safeguard the relic. It is recorded that the prince and the princess donned the garb of ascetics and carried the Relic hidden within the coiffure of Hemamala not to be noticed by passersby. A twentieth century wall painting of the well known monastery of Kelaniya (about 5 miles east of Colombo), depicts this episode in a classic style executed by a local artist (Solius Mendis).
Danta and Hemamala were said to have embarked on a ship at the ancient port of Tamralipti, a busy port at the time, located at the mouth of the river Ganges, and reached the shores of Sri Lanka at the port of Lankapattana (modern Ilankeiturei) in the Trincomalee District. The Relic was reported to have performed several miracles en route on the ship itself, thus being venerated by human and superhuman beings. The Tooth Relic finally reached the Sri Lankan capital at that time, Anuradhapura, and according to the Sinhala text, Dalada Sirita, the Relic was kept at the Megagiri Vihara in the park Mahameghavana.
From the time of its arrival in Sri Lanka in the 4th century until the end of the 10th century when the capital Anuradhapura was shifted to Polonnaruwa, only a few instances are recorded in the chronicle Mahavamsa . Yet, Fa-Hsien, the Chinese traveller monk,who lived in the Abhayagiri monastery in the 5th century has left behind many details about the worship and rituals connected with the Tooth Relic. According to him, the procession instituted by King Kirti Sri Meghavanna in the 4th century, was continued in a grand scale. The sacred Tooth Relic was taken in procession from the Tooth Relic shrine to the Abhayagiri Vihara where the Relic was exhibited for three months with elaborate ritual worship.
Going by the descriptions of literary texts dealing with the sacred Tooth Relic, and also the sporadic references of the chronicle, it is possible to conclude that the sacred Tooth Relic was well guarded by the kings and considered it to be the palladium of kingship. Some of the kings even went to the extent of prefixing the term `Datha’ ( Tooth) to their names, e.g. Dathopatissa, Dathappabhuti, Dalamugalan, etc., which clearly indicates their close association with the sacred Tooth Relic.
The intrusion of South Indian Cholas and the internal disharmony in the ruling houses resulted in the Tooth Relic facing unsafe vicissitudes now and then. Yet, the historical records indicate that the Tooth Relic continued to be in the custody of the Anuradhapura rulers, until king Vijayabahu I shifted the capital to Polonnaruwa in the 11th century. The present ruins of the Atadage at the Sacred Quadrangle (Dalada Maluva) in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, is identical with the Tooth Relic temple built by king Vijayabahu. The Velaikkara stone inscription standing at the side of this edifice provides many details on the history of the Tooth Relic. It appears that the Tooth Relic, together with the Bowl Relic, was brought down from the Uttaramula -ayatana monastery of the Abhayagiri Vihara and installed in the Atadage shrine. This shrine, according to the Velaikkara inscription, was placed under the protection of the Velaikkara mercenaries who were in the service of the king.
The latest institution added to the Dalada Shrine is the ‘Sri Dalada Museum’. Ever since the Tooth Relic shrine was established in Kandy, different grades of visitors and devotees, ranging from Royalty and Heads of States to the poorest of the general public, have been offering various gifts to the Sacred Tooth Relic, and these were preciously protected in specially built store-rooms by the successive line of Diyawadana Nilames. On the initiative of the previous Diyawadana Nilame, Neranjan Wijeratne, it was decided that these valuable artefacts should be made available for public display. On the invitation of the Diyawadana Nilame, the Museum has now been beautifully designed and organized by Prof.Leelananda Prematilleke, the Archaeological Director of the UNESCO-Sri Lanka Project of the Cultural Triangle, together with his team of officers. The Dalada Museum is located on the first and the second floors of the new wing called the Alut Maligawa set up by one of the past Diyawadana Nilemes, T.B.Nugawela.
Which offers a feast for the senses. Wander down fairways lined by majestic Mara Rain Trees, just as two or three white egrets swoop across the landscape; absorb the fragrance of magnificently flowering shrubs, take an evening swim in our infinity pool with unparalleled views of mountains and flowing landscapes or play a set or two of tennis. Then there is dinner on the Terrace as the sun sets behind the magnificent Knuckles Mountain Range.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala. The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection of wild elephants.
Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is situated about 5.5 km to the west from the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. and attracts 2 million visitors annually.It is near to Mahaveli river which is the longest river in Sri Lanka.It is renowned for its collection of a variety of orchids. It includes more than 4000 species of plants, including of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. Attached to it is the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. The total area of the botanical garden is 147 acres (0.59 km2).