The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a world-renowned place of worship, where the left Canine tooth of Gautama Buddha is enshrined. The temple which is venerated by thousands of local & foreign devotees and tourists daily was named as a world heritage by  UNESCO  in 1988. The temple which carries a lot of value to Buddhists all over the world also has immense cultural value. The architecture is of unique Kandyan architectural style with a combination of the unique style used to build โ€œDalada Mandiraโ€ the shrines which housed the Sacred Tooth Relic previously in other kingdoms.

Central province: The Heart of Sri Lanka

Central Province is a Sri Lankan province in Sri Lanka’s central mountainous region. Kandy is the principal city of this province, which is the second largest city in Sri Lanka. There are three districts in the Central province. 

It has a population of 2.5 million and is the sixth-largest province in terms of area. There are plenty of things to do and see in this region, which is home to cities, including Nuwara Eliya, Gangawata Korale, and Kandy. The region is renowned for producing Ceylon tea. 

Districts under Central Province 

There are three districts under the central province of Sri Lanka. They are- Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Matale. 

Kandy:  

Kandy is the most populated district in the Central province. The major city of this district is Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka. The capital of the Central Province, Kandy, is a city of administration and religion. Tropical rainforest climate prevails there. 

beige concrete building kandy central province
Photo by Supun Batagoda on Unsplash

Nuwara Eliya:  

Nuwara Eliya’ means the “city of light” or “city of plain (table land).” It is the smallest district in this province. I consider it the most crucial city for tea production in Sri Lanka. The coolest region in Sri Lanka is Nuwara Eliya, which is recognized for its moderate climate. 

green grass field under cloudy sky during daytime central province
Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

Matale:  

Matale is one of the twenty-five districts in Sri Lanka. People regard the district as the island’s heartland. Matale is the administrative capital and the largest city in the district. It is the only district of Sri Lanka where an ancient book of written history is found. 

matale central province
Photo by Trishan Sajith on Unsplash

Popular destinations 

There are many tourist attractions in Sri Lanka’s Central Province. I mentioned some of the most popular destinations below: 

Temple of the sacred tooth relic  

In the Sri Lankan city of Kandy, there is a Buddhist temple called the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. It is the most religiously significant place for Buddhists; the famous tooth temple draws travelers from around the world and monks and Buddhists from countries like Thailand, China, and Nepal. 

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a world-renowned place of worship, where the left Canine tooth of Gautama Buddha is enshrined. The temple which is venerated by thousands of local & foreign devotees and tourists daily was named as a world heritage by  UNESCO  in 1988. The temple which carries a lot of value to Buddhists all over the world also has immense cultural value. The architecture is of unique Kandyan architectural style with a combination of the unique style used to build โ€œDalada Mandiraโ€ the shrines which housed the Sacred Tooth Relic previously in other kingdoms.
Photo by Promodhya Abeysekara on Unsplash

Royal Botanical Gardens:  

Royal Botanical Gardens is the largest botanical garden in the country and is accessible to the general. It encompasses 147 acres in total. It is situated 460 meters above the mean sea level, approximately five kilometers to the west of Kandy. The garden is home to a wide variety of unusual and beautiful plants and blossoms. 

Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kandy Lake:  

An artificial lake in the center of the hill city of Kandy is called Kandy Lake, also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk. The lake is in front of the revered Temple of the Tooth. A shaded trail with views of the surrounding hills surrounds the lake’s circumference and is over three kilometers long. 

Kandy view point - kandy
Photo by Shamika Nayanajith on Unsplash

Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Centre:  

The Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Centre is in some of Sri Lanka’s tea plantation districts, over 2000m above sea level, at the height of Nuwara Eliya. Here you can visit a museum dedicated to the history of Mackwoods. You can also buy tea if you would like. 

ยฉ Pierre Andrรฉ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Golden Temple of Dambulla:  

The Matale District is home to the UNESCO-designated Dambulla Cave Temple, popularly known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. The ‘Cultural Triangle’ in Sri Lanka includes the Dambulla Cave Temple. Only on foot is it possible to ascend the Dambulla Rock to the Dambulla temples. A panoramic perspective of the flatlands below is provided by the climb. 

golden temple of Dambulla central province
Balou46, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Yala National Park:  

Yala National Park is Sri Lankaโ€™s most visited wildlife park because of the presence of many Leopards. There are five blocks in Yala park but only blocks one and five are open to tourists. Here, thirty-two different species of animals have been identified. The Park offers the best chance to see Sri Lanka’s diverse range of wildlife. 

Adbar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sigiriya Lion Rock:  

One of Sri Lanka’s most amazing and fascinating tourist destinations is the Sigiriya Lion Rock. Since 1982, UNESCO has listed the ancient rock castle as a World Heritage Site and as the eighth wonder of the world! 

As long as you don’t mind taking a chance on heavy downpours during the wettest times of the year, Sigiriya is accessible all year long. 

brown rock formation near body of water during daytime central province
Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash

Horton Plains National Park:  

Horton National Park is famous for its rich biodiversity. The park is spread throughout Kirigalpotta and Totapola, the two tallest mountains in the region. Many wild creatures and birds can be found in the forest, although the majority of the larger species are elusive and difficult to approach. There is an entry fee in this park: 

  • If you are a Sri Lankan national, the fee is around 6 USD 
  • If you are a foreigner, the fee is around 14 USD 

The other places which you may also visit are Udawattakele Reserve Forest, Gregory Lake, Hakgala botanic garden, Aruppola, and so on. 

green trees on mountain during daytime central province
Photo by Ishan Kahapola Arachchi on Unsplash

When to visit 

Even though you can visit the Central Province at any time of the year, March is the ideal month. There are no distinct seasons in Sri Lanka. Due to the location and elevation, Central Province tends to be cool throughout the year. 

The sunniest and driest months are January through March. The months of May through September are generally not the best for travel because of the rain. October to November are the wettest months here. 

How to enter Central Province 

Since there are no international airports in the central province, foreigners must fly to one of Sri Lanka’s four international airports. There is a functioning airport in Dambulla, so you may fly there from any of the major international airports. In Kandy, another is being constructed. 

However, you can access the Central Province by bus from any of Sri Lanka’s provinces. You can go from city to city by train if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Local Transport 

Including air, train, and road, Sri Lanka has a well-connected transportation system. Depending on your comfort level, you can ride any of them. 

Bus:

Any of your favorite locations can be reached by bus in the Central province. However, the rougher neighborhoods are not served by this bus service. This province’s breathtaking natural splendor will astound you if you travel here by bus. 

Train:

By train, you may easily get to any of Sri Lanka’s cities. The view of the hills and the sea will make your journey from one city to the next more enjoyable. If you want a budget-friendly and comfortable ride, the train is the best option for you. 

Taxi:

You may quickly and easily travel everywhere in Central Province by taxi. Travelers mostly use Taxi for short distance journeys. As some rural roads are in poor condition, a taxi is the only way to go there. 

Rideshare:

Rideshare like uber, is not available throughout the province. You can get the rideshare service in the main cities. Though there is less crime in Sri Lanka, rideshare is the safest transportation system in the province. 

Food and Culture 

Sri Lankan lifestyle is heavily reflects their cuisines, festivals, and sports. You may sample all of Sri Lanka’s delectable cuisine in the Central Province. The tour remains incomplete if you do not try the local cuisine. Here, in Central Province, you must try the traditional food of Sri Lanka named โ€œFish ambul thiyalโ€. Besides this dish, you can also try kottu, Kukul mas curry (Chicken curry), Parippu (Dhal curry), Appa or Appam (candied eggplant), polos (jackfruit curry), and many others. 

The extensive history and Buddhist legacy of Sri Lanka have a major impact on the country’s culture. Central Province has a strong tradition of fine arts, which includes music, dance, and visual arts. Duruthu Perehera is the most glorious cultural tradition in this province which they celebrate in January (Duruthu). 

Conclusion 

You might know. Sri Lanka is going through a great financial crisis right now. Their foreign reserve is empty, and they are indebted to China and some other international organizations. Sri Lanka has always heavily depended on the tourism sector. But the COVID-19 crisis and the post-Covid recession have heavily affected the countryโ€™s economy.  

So, I can only hope that the number of tourists will keep increasing in the coming days like in pre-covid days. We also hope that this beautiful country does not keep failing, and hopefully overturns its current fate in the coming days. 

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