Built by the last king of Sri Lanka and Kandy, Wikrama Rajasinhe, in order to add beauty to the Temple of Tooth, Kandy lake is an artificial construction marking a remnant of the last ever Sri Lankan kingdom.
Originally called Kiri Muhuda or the Milky Ocean, the lake has an unfinished wall called the Valakulu Bamma or clouds wall. Its incompletion is due to the arrest and imprisonment of King Wikrama Rajasinhe in 1815 when the British invaded and took Kandy. At 2060 feet, the cloud wall remains standing today in its unfinished state; the triangular holes in it are used to light oil lamps.
The lake has an island at the centre which is also an artificial creation of the king. It was initially part of a dam, which King Ramasinghe had built across the lake, but it was soon destroyed from both ends, leaving just the island in the middle.
Legend has it that this island was actually used by the King’s helm for bathing, and was connected to the palace through a secret tunnel. On one side of the lake, there is also the bathing house for the queen, called the Dalada Maligawa.
There are also many protections put in place for Kandy Lake, one of them being the prohibition of fishing. The lake has reduced considerably over the years, to having a perimeter of just less than 3.5 kilometres, although when initially built, it was much bigger than that.
Having been built on excavated paddy fields, this lake is highly protected as it’s considered extremely important in maintaining the decor of Kandy along with many auspicious stories related to it.
It has now become one of the most revered sights in Sri Lanka, especially due to the legendary stories about it and its man-made characteristics which make it a sight of wonder.