KANDY LAKE The Kiri Muhuda (Sea of Milk), which is popularly known as the Kandy Lake, contains an artificial body of water that’s located in the heart of the picturesque hill capital. It’s believed to have been built in 1807 by Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last of four kings to rule the kingdom, when he was only 27.

This personage was the last of four Nayak monarchs of Telugu origin to reign over the ancient Sinhalese Kingdom of Kandy. The Nayaks belonged to the Hindu faith and were the last royal dynasty to rule the island.

It’s said that during his reign, which culminated in 1815 with the takeover of the island by the invading British colonial power, the young royal worked hard to beautify his capital city. The lake was originally constructed to enhance the area surrounding the grounds of the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa) where a sacred Buddhist relic is housed.

Legend has it that the small island with palm trees in the middle of the Kiri Muhuda was used by the king’s harem for bathing and connected to the palace through a secret tunnel.

Built at a depth of 18 metres and sitting at an altitude of 524 metres above sea level, this lake has diminished in size over the centuries. The water body is surrounded by a white wall, which is called the walaakulu baemma (the wall of cloud). It was constructed to add to the majestic allure and charm of this enormous pond.

The walaakulu baemma extends around only half the lake as the king was unable to complete its construction before Kandy fell to the British and the hapless last of the Rajasinhas was forced to relinquish his kingdom.

When exploring Kandy, the lake – with its clear waters – is the most serene place for an early morning or late evening stroll.

And though Kandy is a busy and bustling city, the soothing views around this scenic lake are enough to quieten even the most agitated mind.


This is undoubtedly the most iconic Buddhist site in Colombo. Its exceptional beauty lies in both its architecture and location. Modern-day architects will marvel at how Chinese, Indian, Thai, Burmese and Sri Lankan design styles blend seamlessly in this impressive temple.

This holy abode holds many unofficial records in the city such as being its most visited religious monument, as well as the most popular and widely photographed too – it’s a favourite stop on cultural and religious tours.

The temple is flanked by the Beira Lake on one side, and bronze and gold statues – as well as ornate wood carvings – on the other. Within the complex is the main temple, cetiya (pagoda), a bo tree from Anuradha pura, the vihara mandiraya where precious relics and artefacts are stored, and the Seema Malaka, which is an assembly hall of sorts for venerable priests and novice monks alike.

The Seema Malaka is located opposite the temple on a little island on the Beira Lake. It’s an ideal place to experience your ‘Zen moments’ as it exudes peace and tranquil vibes.

When visiting the temple, dress conservatively and don’t forget to take in the many magnificent Buddha statues – sitting, standing, sleeping and meditating. The temple also houses the world’s smallest Buddha figurine, ancient manuscripts and paintings, and gifts from well-wishers.

This 19th century temple is open daily from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. – and if you visit in February, you’ll be able to enjoy the Navam Perahera, which is an iconic and impressive procession organised by the temple. The perahera (procession) features a colourful parade of traditional dancers and drummers, as well as majestically adorned elephants, bright lights and acrobats including fire dancers.

Compiled by Monita Pesumal

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