Most often referred to as the hill capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy offers a diverse variety of experiences to its visitors ranging from history, culture and simple scenic beauty coupled with a touch of urbanity. It was the last Sinhalese Kingdom that fell under British rule in 1815. The journey to this mellow weathered city can be quite enjoyable, particularly by train owing to the scenic delights that lie alongside. The city’s colonial architecture has been preserved well even in the backdrop of rapid urbanization. Close to the city’s center is the prime landmark – Sri Dalada Maligawa that houses the sacred tooth relic of Buddha. Apart from the ancient monuments of the Kandyan era, the delightful jumble of antique shops and the bustling market in the city also make up for interesting places of visit.
Portuguese invasions in the 16th century and 17th century were entirely unsuccessful. The kingdom tolerated a Dutch presence on the coast until 1761, when King Kirti Sri attacked and overran most of the coast, leaving only the heavily fortified Negombo intact. When a Dutch retaliatory force returned to the island in 1763, Sri abandoned the coastline and withdrew into the interior of the island. When the Dutch continued to the jungles the next year, they were constantly harassed by disease, heat, lack of provisions, while the Kandyan sharpshooters, who hid in the jungle, inflicted heavy losses on the Dutch.