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This is the second largest city in Sri Lanka and the gateway to the central highlands. Kandy lies amidst the hills of the Kandy plateau. It is surrounded by several mountain ranges including the Knuckles mountain range and the Hanthana Mountain Range. The city has an elevation of 500 metres above the sea level. At the heart of the city is the Kandy Lake next to the world famous Temple of the Tooth. Not only it is one of the most scenic places on the island, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with significant religious and cultural importance. Kandy was the last capital of the ancient Sinhala kingdom which fell under British rule. It holds one of the most sacred items of Buddhist religion, the tooth relic of the Buddha, enshrined in the impressive Temple of the Tooth or Sri Dalada Maligava.
The temple is located in the royal palace complex of Kandy and is located adjacent to the Kandy Lake, built by the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri VikramaRajasinha. Every July, the relics and artifacts from the temple are paraded around the city on elephant back in a colourful festival called the EsalaPerahera. This festival is one of the most-watched cultural events in the country. It lasts for more than an hour and is adorned with traditional Kandyan dancers, elephants and one special elephant in charge of the most sacred relic.
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya is another lovely attraction in the city of Kandy. The gardens are fashioned after the Royal Gardens in Kew in London. They are the largest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka and have earned a reputation as the finest in Asia. The elephant orphanage at Pinnawela is a must visit attraction of the area, where you can feed elephants and watch them take a river bath.
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