The sacred city of Kandy is considered the cultural capital of Sri Lanka and, with its lush hills and central Kandy Lake, it is also probably the island's most beautiful town. There is plenty to see and do in what was once the country's royal capital and the refreshingly cooler climate is ideal for exploring. Numerous shrines and temples are dotted in and around the town but the focal point is the golden-roofed Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple of the Tooth, where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is said to be enshrined. The legend goes that the tooth was snatched from Buddha's funeral pyre and
smuggled to Sri Lanka by a princess where it is now closely guarded. The room housing the tooth's golden casket is open to devotees and tourists alike during puja (prayer time). Away from the tooth, the Dalada Maligawa complex is quite large, and there is plenty to explore aside from the main shrine. Alut Maligawa (a three-storey shrine which houses dozens of seated Buddhas), the Audience Hall and the World Buddhism Museum are all worth exploring. For even more greenery and scenery, just outside of Kandy's town centre, the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens – with 150 acres of beautiful trees, plants and flowers – are also well worth a visit.

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