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A Great View at Kandy’s Hotel Casamara

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Guesthouses in Kandy

Kandy is surrounded by mountains and steep hills, so it’s no surprise that there are a number of places from which to gain commanding views over the city. The Bahirawakanda Buddha is one of the most obvious. The viewpoint on Rajapihilla Mawatha (location) offers an unbeatable perspective over the lake and the Temple of the Tooth behind it. The Slightly Chilled Lounge on Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha (location) serves up great Asian food and sports another excellent view from the east. But for us, the best lookout over the city is right downtown at the Hotel Casamara.

The Casamara doesn’t look like much from the outside but is the tallest building in its immediate vicinity and makes good use of its height with a top-floor bar. The view of Kandy is different from here, less romantic and more lively, because you’re in the middle of the city. Though the tuk-tuk-clogged chaos of the streets can be stressful when you’re down in it, it provides endless entertainment from above.

This was our favorite spot in town for a drink, and it’s largely ignored by both locals and tourists. We were almost always the only people inside. So if you’re in the mood to relax, and look down on the street life of Kandy like a haughty god, check out the Hotel Casamara.

Location on our Map
Views from Hotel Casamara

Hotel Casamara
Kandy Panorama
Kandy Blog
Kandy Secrets
Lonely Church in Kandy
Moped Kandy
Moped Mess

Another fun viewpoint, discovered while we were lost during our final days in Kandy, is at the Panorama Resort high up on a hill, on the eastern side of the city. You don’t actually have a view of the city here, but of the verdant valley to Kandy’s northeast. It’s a great place for a drink — I don’t know if I’ve ever had a more generous gin & tonic — and the view is amazing.

Location on our Map
Views from the Panorama Resport

Hill Country Sri Lanka
Panorama Resort Kandy
Night in Kandy
Night Dagoba
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February 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm Comment (1)

The Buddha of Gnome Mountain

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Learn About Buddhism

The giant white Buddha which sits atop Bahirawakanda hill is visible from all over Kandy, and a visit, whether by tuk-tuk or foot, is worth the effort for an unbeatable view. From atop Bahirawakanda, the city and its lake are laid out beautifully before you, and you’ll feel secure underneath the big Buddha’s benevolent, protecting presence. You might need the protection more than you realize. The spot on which you’re standing has an evil past…..

Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Bahirawa Kanda is Sinhalese for Gnome Mountain. Centuries ago, this hill was believed to be in possession of a wicked gnome with an insatiable thirst for human flesh. According to legend, the Kings of Kandy would reluctantly provide a human sacrifice to the cruel creature once a year. The chosen was always a beautiful young virgin of noble blood, who would be taken to the top of the mountain, tied to a tree and left for the gnome to ravage at his whim.

Though the legends of Bahirawa Kanda are more fiction than fact, sacrifices do appear to have been made. Most likely, the abandoned girls would die of fright or exposure, or be torn apart by wild jackals. The last such sacrifice came during the troubled reign of Kandy’s final king, Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe. According to the story, after the girl was chained and left for dead, her boyfriend stole up the mountain and freed her. They escaped to Colombo, and wouldn’t return to Kandy until after the British took over.

Location on our Kandy Map
Book Hostels in Sri Lanka Here

Powerful Buddha
Massive Buddha Kandy
Mountain Clouds Kandy
Rain over Kandy
Jungle Villa Kandy
Buddha Rain
Bo bo Tree
Kandy 2012
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February 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm Comments (2)

The Train from Colombo to Kandy

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The slow-moving, three-hour journey from Colombo to Kandy is one of the most spectacular train rides we’ve ever taken. The track leaves the smoggy metropolis quickly behind, and travels inland through regions of increasing beauty and altitude, until arriving at Sri Lanka’s hilltop jewel, Kandy. Throughout the ride, we were captivated by the ever-changing landscape, and spent the trip poking our heads out open windows, or hanging carefree from the doors like the feckless punks we are (or, would like to be).

Kandy Express

In 1864, the British introduced rail to Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as the island was then known. Steady and reliable transport was needed to bring coffee and tea from the central highlands to the port of Colombo, and trains served the purpose nicely. Colombo-Kandy was the original line and, with the progression of decades, the network expanded. Today, you can travel with train around much of the country — the north, and south-east being the two big exceptions.

We had such a great time on the train to Kandy that we promised ourselves to utilize trains whenever possible. Second class tickets cost around 200 rupees apiece (less than $2). First class, also wonderfully cheap, was unfortunately sold out. I don’t know what kind of difference the class-upgrade would have made; our seats were plenty large and comfortable. And the unforgettable views were the same. Upon arriving, we almost felt like staying on the train, and heading straight back to Colombo.

Location of the train station on our Colombo Map
An other fun train ride we took: From Sucre to Potosi

Colombo Train
Arrival in Sri Lanka
Waiting For The Train
Ladies Waiting Room
Train Cat
Track Crosser
First Class Train Sri Lanka
Colombo Fort Train Station
Hidden Kid
Buddha Train Tour
Rice Train
Kids on Train
Sri Lanka Landscapes
Sri Lanka Train Wreck
Steam Engine
Welcome To Kandy
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February 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm Comments (3)
A Great View at Kandy's Hotel Casamara The Casamara doesn't look like much from the outside but is the tallest building in its immediate vicinity and makes good use of its height with a top-floor bar. The view of Kandy is different from here, less romantic and more lively, because you're in the middle of the city. Though the tuk-tuk-clogged chaos of the streets can be stressful when you're down in it, it provides endless entertainment from above.
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