by : Tatyana Kogut.

One of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka is the "the five districts on the mountain", Kandy. Proud and beautiful people live here  it took colonizers a long time to make them obey. By the way, local people are very hard-working and cleanly. Despite their modest, even poor way of life, they are always washing and sweeping something, mending and building, making furniture and creating outstanding cotton batiks. Their houses are accurately white-washed and covered with tiles, there are flowers and bushes planted along the city roads  thanks to mild climate any stick put into the ground soon starts to blossom.

Kandy is known for its huge Botanical Garden which occupies a 67-hectare land, with thousands of extremely beautiful and exotic plants in it. At the same time, the larger part of tourists and local citizens are attracted to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, founded in 1975. The orphanage is a home to orphaned elephants whose parents were killed by poachers or other wild animals. Little elephants are taken good care of, fed with cow's milk, coconuts, fresh green matter etc. Nowadays there are a total of 60 elephants living at Pinnawala. Elephants that are 6 years old are let to the jungle or taken to Zoos or numerous farms where they communicate with tourists.

Kandy is one of the most curious cities in Sri Lanka, founded in the XIV century at the bank of the islands longest river. Located 488 meters above the sea-level, this city is surrounded by Buddhist and Hindu temples. From here tourists can enjoy picturesque views over the small plateaus and mountains with their steep slopes. Indeed, such nature is perfect for meditation, that is why there were several Buddhist temples erected on the city territory.

But it is another thing that Kandu got fame for, especially with Asian people. Great amount of tourists and pilgrims arrive to Kandy every year to observe its unique attraction - Sri Dalada Maligawa, or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. According to the legend, it was princess Hemamala who brought the tooth of Buddha to this temple in 311. The Tooth relic is kept in a huge casket weighing 120 kilos, which stands under a golden canopy in the center of a chapel. The chapel, in its turn, is standing inside a huge temple, filled with statues of Buddha and frescoes that tell the story of how the tooth got to Ceylon.

The Tooth is well kept and only a few people get a chance to see it. In summer time the tooth becomes the main personage of a colourful procession - Esala Perahera, when elephants accompany the relic. They walk along the city streets, adorned with colourful illuminated cloths and bells. Hundreds of dancers, acrobats and musicians participate in this solemn procession  one of the most important Buddhist events.

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic was built beside a beautiful artificial lake, created by the last Kandy king who ruled the city until 1815. This was the kings favourite spotArticle Search, that is why his summer residence was erected here as well.