When visiting Sri Lanka, you can’t miss out on traversing the hill country region of Kandy. Rich in cultural history as well as natural beauty, which establishments like Santani Resort and Spa merge effortless, Kandy is home to a host of invigorating and grappling sites and experiences. From winding through the hills overlooking lush tea estates and brazenly green valleys, to unique experiences of flora and fauna, there remains no short list of things to do in Kandy that are well worth the exploration.
Hulu Ganga Waterfall
When in Kandy, go waterfall hunting! A favourite among locals and newcomers alike, the Kandy region is home to several beautiful waterfalls worth the forage. Located approximately thirty kilometers away from Kandy Town, the Hulu Ganga waterfall sits at the border of the Knuckles forest reserve, alongside several other waterfalls in much the same region. Fed by streams originating at the heart of the reserve and standing at 75m tall the tallest of the waterfalls of the Knuckles mountain range, the rapids are a delight to both enthusiasts and travelers alike. Unlike most, the rocks of the falls ensure that the water is not muddy, even in the rain and rainy season, when the falls are at their most scenic.
Saree Ella Falls
So named for its resemblance to the ‘saree´ worn by many Sri Lankan women, the waterfall is one of the many waterfalls located in a similar region to the Hulu Ganga Waterfall. Another creation of the Knuckles’ mountain range and its several streams, the fall consists of several cascades and is accessible from several different places. The first half of the fall cascades in a diagonal mimicking the pallu of a saree, ending in small natural pools which are safe and perfect for a light dip. Standing at 25m, it’s a beautiful sight to see when in full flow.
Though not very large, the Rangala Nature Pool is formidable in both beauty and structure. Marked by a small bridge which one can also use to view the pool over the Kotaganga, a river that also originates from the Knuckles Mountain Range, the pool is characterized by its cloudless water. On clear days, the water shining a bright turquoise is clear through to the rocks that form its base. But though the water looks inviting, standing at a depth of over 30 feet, the pool is a dangerous one to swim in. The clear blue of the water and the rock formation are plenty beautiful by themselves, however, and definitely worth the visit!
Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya
Close to the city of Kandy, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Peradeniya is a wonder for all botany aficionados. Housing over 4000 species of spices, medicinal plants, palm trees, and orchids- the latter of which the Botanic Gardens are renowned for- the entire experience offered is beautiful, to say the least. Walking through the 147 acres of the gardens, one is exposed to large amounts of rare flora, all conveniently packed into a single space. The orchid house, for which the gardens are especially distinguished, house several types of species you’d be hard-pressed to find in many other places.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
At the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage- easily considered to be one of the best places to visit when in or around Kandy- abandoned or orphaned elephants are given shelter. Situated in the Pinnawala village of Sabaragamuwa and started 45 years ago by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the elephant sanctuary is home to over 90 Asian elephants who dwell in their natural habitat. The sanctuary not only raises those elephants orphaned or abandoned, but also those grievously injured in any way or form, giving visitors a chance to interact with these august creatures in a setting that is not too disruptive to their routine. The sanctuary aims to respect the habits of the elephants it houses, becoming an enterprise and effort worth making the journey for!