Kandy, the gateway to Sri Lanka’s hill country, dazzles every August with a magnificent procession of elephants and drummers.Photo Credit: Dhanush de Costa
Kandy town has several respected mid-range hotels overlooking the picturesque Mahaweli River including the Chaaya Citadel, Mahaweli Reach, and the small boutique hotel. Amaya Hills, Randholee, Hotel Topaz and Thilanka are perched on hillocks overlooking Kandy town, with Amaya Hills the grander of the quartet. For those intent upon a sense of old colonial, the lakeside Suisse Hotel, housed in a colonial mansion which was at one time the residence of a British Governor, might appeal. Helga’s Folly – an individualistic slice of art nouveau overlooking Kandy Lake -- will appeal to those seeking an imaginative alternative to routine hotel life. The most luxurious option is arguably the Kandy House, a renovated manor house away from the main town which is widely praised.
Forty minutes east of Kandy is the Victoria Golf & Country Resort, one of the finest golf courses in Asia. Surrounded by the Knuckles Mountain Range and overlooking the Victoria reservoir, this is a self-contained holiday resort spread over 500 acres with recreational facilities and several holiday villas including the Tamarind Lodge, Bamboo, Sanctuary, and the Cligendael boutique hotel. Nature lovers might like to venture about half-an-hour beyond the Victoria Golf Club towards the Knuckles forest reserve where the Rangala House offers comfortable accommodation and Red Dot can arrange camping and trekking in spectacular mountains.
Kandy Perehara: In August each year, the spectacular Esala Perehara winds its way through the streets of Kandy. This is a time when tradition, religion, and the arts all come together in honour of Lord Buddha. For ten nights under the moonlit sky, Kandy dazzles. Musicians, dancers, Kandyan chieftains and hundreds of elephants dressed in glittering royal finery move to the rhythm of the Kandyan drums. Reels of white carpet are laid on the roads for one special elephant, the temple tusker that bears the tooth relic of Lord Buddha encased in a golden casket. This historic ritual is one of the finest festivals in Asia. Donald Steel Golf Tournament: The annual Donald Steel Trophy takes place at the Victoria Golf & Country Resort in February. An anticipated event in the Sri Lanka Golf Calendar, this amateur golf tournament attracts more than 100 players from about 15 countries including golfers from the UK, Canada and New Zealand.