FEBRUARY 10, 2012
Lying in the centre of Sri Lanka, the Kingdom of Kandy was the last Sri Lankan ruling dynasty to give in to British rule in 1815.
The name Kandy was given to the city of Kanda Uda Rata by the British. Its present day Sri Lankan name is Maha Nuwara while the historical name is Senkadagalapura. There are various theories to the origin of this name, ranging from the city being named after a Brahmin man residing there, called Senkadagalapura, to it being named after the queen Senkada or perhaps from the coloured stone Senkada gala.
One of the main highlighting reasons behind the Kingdom of Kandy’s historical significance is its long resistance against foreign rule; from the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Topographical features of the kingdom such as extremely tough access routes and the fact that the main area is surrounded by mountains and forests, contributed heavily to Kandy’s tough opposition against invasion.
Roads in to the kingdom were in fact a bit of a secret, with very few people familiar with all the geographical exits of the kingdom. The information was prevented from being shared or discussed unless authorised and failure to follow the rule often led to death.
Despite succumbing to the British Empire, Kandy was able to retain its position as a religious capital of Sri Lanka, providing a haven for all the believers and practitioners of Buddhism. Another reason behind Kandy’s popularity is the annual festival held there to take the Lord Buddha’s tooth, which is considered a holy relic, out on the streets in a procession.
The whole procession and ceremony consists of traditional music, drumming, dancing and other forms of cultural celebration like bearing flags of the different provinces of the Old kingdom of Kandy. The protectors of the Relic Tooth, the Nilames, also partake in this event while even more aesthetic beauty is added by the use of decorations and authentic Sinhalese accessories.
Minolma Fenandiz is a writing articles, script, stories for newspapers magazines. Professional blogger and author of "Sri Lanka Gude Book". Join me on Google+