Kandy (Sinhalese: මහනුවර Mahanuwara, pronounced [mahanuʋərə];
Tamil: கண்டி Kandy, pronounced [kaɳɖi]).
It is the second most important city in Sri Lanka. However, for Buddhists this is the capital.
Sri Lanka has 9 provinces and Kandy belongs to the Central Province of Sri Lanka.
The city and region have been known by many names and versions of these names.
Kandy’s English name originated during the colonial era.
It comes from the anglicized version of the Sinhalese Kanda Uda Rata which means the land in the mountain or Kanda Uda Pas Rata, which refers to the five counties or mountain villages.
The Portuguese abbreviated it as “Candea” and used this name for both the kingdom and the capital.
Today and in Sinhalese it is called Maha Nuwara, which means “Big city” or “Capital”.
Although almost everyone in Sri Lanka calls it Kandy or simply Nuwara.
The latest statistics tell us that the city has a population of 125,400 inhabitants.
The truth is, few people live in the city.
In this city, as in most cities in Sri Lanka, the majority of the population lives outside of urban centers.
If we are governed by the proportionality that occurs in the country, 72% of the population lives in the countryside or outside urbanized cities.
Ethnicity in Kandy
By ethnicity, Kandy is heavily inhabited by Sinhalese or Sinhalese.
74.5% of the population belongs to the Sinhalese ethnic group.
Almost 11% are Moorish from Sri Lanka. 9.5% are Tamils from Sri Lanka and 3.5 are Tamils from India.
Recent history of Kandy
For the Sinhalese, Kandy is extremely important because it was the last capital of the ancient era of the kings of Sri Lanka.
Throughout history, the rest of the country was colonized first by the Portuguese and then by the Dutch.
However, thanks to its strategic position in the middle of the mountains, Kandy remained independent until the early 19th century.
The British colonized this part of the country in the early months of 1815.
British troops launched an invasion where they had no resistance, with the surrender of the city on February 10, 1815.
On March 2, 1815, a treaty known as the Kandyan Convention between the British and the Radalas (aristocrats of Kandia) was signed.
With this treaty, Kandy recognized George III as his King and became a British protectorate.
The importance of Kandy
Kandy is also important for the Sinhalese, to host the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world.
This set of temples was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
Topography and beauty of Kandy
This location is located in the mountainous interior of Sri Lanka.
It is an unrivaled place densely populated by trees and vegetation.
The city is located between the Knuckles mountain ranges and the Hanthana chain, which gives the city an elevation of 500 meters above sea level.
It is located near the Kandy reservoir and south of the Udawatta Kele shrine.
The city is located in the middle of the hills of the province’s plateau which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea.
In the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, its climate is the tropical rain forest.
Kandy, being surrounded by so many mountains, has a colder and wetter climate than the rest of the country.
Humidity is generally between 70% and 79%.
It has its dry season from January to April.
From May to July and from October to December, the region experiences the monsoon season such as the rainy season and instability.
The coldest month is January and the hottest month in July.
From March to mid-May is the period called intermonzón. During this period there is light rain and high humidity.
What to see in Kandy
In addition to the Temple of the Tooth, the Peradeniya Botanical Garden, the Udakatakele Forest and the Lankatilekka and Ambakke temples are highly recommended.
Without forgetting the Esala Perahera.
Kandy is known for the annual procession known as Esala Perahera, where the internal coffins used to cover the Buddha Tooth relic come out in a large procession of elephants, different authorities, dancers and musicians on the streets of the city.
This ceremony is held annually in the months of July or August, bringing many tourists, both foreigners and Sri Lankans.