By Lanka Property Web
Kandy, located in the central province of Sri Lanka was the last kingdom of the Sri Lankan monarchy. The name Kandy is derived from the Sinhalese word ‘Kanda Udarata’ (meaning hill country) and is locally known as Mahanuwara (or big city). It was also known as Senkadagalapura. Even today, it is associated with royalty, luxuriousness and comfortable living and is a city which is soaring in popularity. It also features prominently as one of the most known cities in the world due to Temple of the Tooth Relic being situated in the city, which adds a religious, cultural and heritage importance. Kandy has been named a world heritage site by UNESCO from 1988.
Kandy spans over 11.02 sq. miles and it is situated approximately 1,600 feet above the sea level. Kandy District houses over 1,416,000 residents according to surveys from 2015. Kandy has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years due to a booming tourist industry and as a location that features some of the very best of attractions Sri Lanka has to offer.
Kandy is a city that is steeped in tradition and has a sense of community and harmony. Based in the hill country it provides a unique combination of perfect weather, community as well as amenities. Kandy is 115 KM away from Colombo and can be reached in around3.5 hours currently. It’s expected that the new highway will shave off an hour or so from the travel time.
Despite the distance, Kandy is perhaps only second to Colombo in terms of an active and bustling urban hotspot. Kandy is surrounded with the ever flowing Mahaweli river and 41,521 hectares, or in other words 21% of the entire land area of Kandy district is covered with forest adding a sense of greenery to the landscape.
Schools and Institutions.
In prestige, Kandy has been a city that is second to none in Sri Lanka and the schools and institutions that are present in Kandy has been a source of pride for the residents over the years. Kandy has some of the best and prestigious schools in the entire country which has constantly produced top intellects and professionals.
The likes of Dharmaraja College, Trinity College, Kingswood College, Vidyartha College, St. Sylvester’s College,Mahamaya Girls’ School, Pushpadana Girls’ College,Girls High School,Good Shepard Conventcan be counted among the elite schools in the island.
Also,a number of International Schools such the Gateway College, Colombo International School, École International School, Lexicon International School are present in the Kandy region, providing a diverse range of excellent schooling avenues.
Amenities and Shopping
Kandy is a prime location for shopping in Sri Lanka and this can be largely attributed to being the second biggest city in Sri Lanka as well as to the fact, Kandy attracts a large number of tourists. Kandy City Centre is the most iconic of shopping avenues and amenities and is located in the center of the city. Kandy City Centre features close to 75 shopping outlets which includes, Banks, Jewelry outlets, Fashion shops, Retail outlets and even a Cinema and many restaurants.
Restaurants and Hotels
Kandy is home to many prominent restaurants and hotels chief among which is the Queens Hotel Kandy, which sits right at the centre of Kandy city overlooking the Kandy Lake. Cafe Walk, The Empire Cafe, Devon Hotel, Bake House, Licensed to Grill and Ozo Kandy are some of the finest Kandy has to offer in culinary excellence.
Healthcare and Hospitals
Kandy has a number of both public and private healthcare institutions and hospitals. Kandy Teaching Hospital takes the center spot due to its capacity and range of services on offer to the public. Private institutions such as Kandy Private Hospital, Suwasewana Hospital, Lakeside Adventist Hospital and Kandy Nursing home are also reputed healthcare providers in the region.
Distance and Transport
Kandy despite being away from Colombo is a sprawling urban center of its own. This has contributed to some traffic concerns in the city, however with many initiatives in place to manage the situation, the traffic navigation has improved in the recent times. Also, with an extensive network of trains and busses travelling to many areas of the country, transport from and to Kandy is hassle free. In the recent future, it is expected that an expressway would be constructed, which will again increase the efficiency of transportation in Kandy and other cities.
Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha or DaladaMaligawa as it is locally known, is the center piece of all attractions around Kandy, a site of rich heritage and rich architectural and cultural as well as religious values. The EselaPerahera which starts in august is a massive attraction for masses and is held around the DaladaMaligawa.
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens are also a very popular attraction due to its rich flora and fauna collection. It also houses the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka and home to many historical plantations as well chief among which is the Sri Lanka’s first ever noncommercial tea plant.
Embekke Temples is one of the finer examples of Sri Lankan arts and crafts and thus attracts a great deal of visitors as well. Woodwork and crafts that are on display at Embekke can be considered to be perhaps the best of the works in Sri Lanka due to its intricate and delicate crafting techniques.
Situated in the heart of Kandy, the lake adds a layer of serenity and calm to the bustling urban center. It is also known as the Sea of Milk or Kiri Muhuda. It is a man-made lake built by the last king of Kandy, Sri WickramaRajasinghe. Despite reducing in size over the years, Kandy lake is surrounded with a pathway around it and provides the perfect venue for strolling or jogging.
Commonwealth war cemetery
Commonwealth War Cemetery based in Kandy is one of the six war cemeteries primarily used to soldiers who were killed during the world war II as well as a soldier who was killed during World War one. As per records there are 203 buried in the cemetery and offers remembrance of a time under the colonial rule and forms an important section of Sri Lanka’s history. It is often renowned as one of the most beautifully landscaped war cemeteries in the world and is home to 28 Italian prisoners of war who died in Ceylon between 1939 and 1945.
Dambadeniya, Lankathilake (featured in the ITV Jekyll and Hyde series)and Gadaladeniya, which date back to the 13thcentury are also based in the vicinity of the Kandy region.Dambadeniya is an ancient kingdom and bears many building that were erected on the 13th century period. Despite being in ruins, Dambadeniya Temple,Vijayasundararamaya which housed the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha has been uncovered and contains some of the finest wall painting from the 18th century.
Lankathilake Vihara, is considered to be the best example of architecture in the Gampola era. Designed by SathapatiRayar a south Indian. It is situated in a rock Panhalgala Rock. Image house of the Vihara also is covered with fine paintings from the era.
Gadaladeniya Vihara, was built by King Bhuvanekabahu IV who ruled from 1341 to 1351 A. D.revered for its Makara Thorana, which is decoratedwith images of Brahmā, Śakra, Santuṣita, Saman, Santhusthika, Natha and Maitreya it had been built pursuing Dravidian architectural style it is believed that the stylistic elements of the Polonnaruwa were infused in the construction process.
Knuckles and Huluganga
Among the attractions of nature, Huluganga falls and the Knuckles mountain range comes on top.Knuckles spread over both Kandy andMatale regions and is plush with greenery. Despite being consisting of only 0.03% islands total area it is home to one of the richest biodiverse regions of the country.
Traditional Walauwas of Kandy
Kandy, being the capital of the last kingdom of Sri Lanka was the home to many homesteads for the elite. Walauwa is used to describe the mansions and were also a symbol of the authority and wealth of the landed elites of Sri Lanka. Many of these waluawa’s today are being used as either hotels or have been taken up by the government. A famous example, the Ehelepolawaluawa has today been converted the Bogambara Prison.Another famous waluawa, the DunuwilaWaluawa is today used as the Kandy Town Hall.
Nugawelawalawwa, one of the most famous waluwa of the Nugaweladisawa, is today known as the Manor House. Today it offers luxurious rooms, suites and functions as a boutique hotel.
Ratwattewalawwa, built by the chief minister to the last king of Kandy, RatwatteAdigar has today been converted to Kandy House. It was known as one of the few occasions where despite provisions preventing roofing tiles to be used elsewhere than the royal palace, RatwatteAdigar was able to recreate a replica of a castle.
New Central Expressway
The Kandy expressway also referred to as the “Sri Dalada Highway” is being constructed on three phases with the first phase from Kadawatha to Mirigama, second phase from Mirigama to Kurunegala and the third phase from Kurunegala to Kandy. The expressway will connect two of the busiest commercial cities in Sri Lanka and will cut down transit times and traffic congestion massively. It will also enable both Kandy and Colombo to connect more easily with the rest of the country laying the foundation for an industry driven economy.
Growing property market
Kandy has often played 2nd fiddle to Colombo & it’s suburb’s property market, however is gaining in popularity recently due to the Central Expressway coming up and as more Kandyan expats look to buy property back home.
Although in the shadows of Colombo’s growing market, Kandy is the 2nd most popular location in the country for property sale and rental searches, according to property website LankaPropertyWeb.com.
The average prices of houses for sale in Kandy(4 bedrooms) have increased by 6.7% in the last year and average land prices have gone up by 22%. Land prices however differ greatly based on the locality, accessibility and the gradient of the land. It would only be a matter of time before other developers also start targeting the hill capital.
While prices of land for sale in Kandy town is quite high and can be up to 4M per perch, land sales closer to the proposed highway exit and at more up and comingpicturesqueareas such as Digana near the Victoria Golf range, Pallekelle, Hantana and along the Mahaweli river has been gaining in interest and price.
The growing property market has also attracted Apartment developers to the city with developers starting to build luxury apartments in the city. Dynasty Residence, the 19 floor-93 unit project is the first such luxury project to be built in Kandy and sits next to the iconic Mahaweli river. It’s expected to be completed by early 2018. The Chairman of GVR – the company behind Dynasty – Mr. MahasenSamaravijaya, a Kandyan himself and one of the early advocates of bringing in high rise luxury living to Kandy has made sure that the new development enshrines the aesthetics and eco friendliness of the hill capital, while ensuring that the building is built according to strict safety standards, but not compromising on the luxurious living facilities offered to it’s residents.
Commenting on the significance of Dynasty being the first mixed-use development in Sr Lanka to be built in accordance with the US Green Building Council’s LEED Standards, he said “Dynasty Residence serves as a prime example of how luxurious living can be integrated with healthy, green and high-performing residential buildings. This accomplishment revolutionizes the built environment, a major milestone that leads the way towards a sustainably built environment in Kandy. Achieving LEED certification is more than implementing sustainable practices. It signifies GVR Lanka’s green building leadership and commitment of providing best class residences to their clients. “
Kandy has also been chosen as the location for Sri Lanka’s first smart city. Smart City is an urban area which can support economic development and quality of life by ensuring key infrastructure facilities are provided uninterruptedly. Many sources list the key features of a smart city include, adequate water supply, uninterrupted electricity supply, proper sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient public transport, affordable housing, good governance, health and education, sustainable environment, and safety and security of citizens. When Kandy is able to implement the smart initiative to a considerable degree, it can also be expected that this will result in a surge in residential and commercial real estate as a prime location due to being a smart city.