Journey through the Last Citadel of Sri Lanka
Often referred to as the capital of the hill-country, and sometimes the ‘cultural capital’, Kandy is a city nestled in the lush central highlands of the exotic island of Sri Lanka. Its significance does not only stem from its rustic splendour, but also from its history as the only city that fought off foreign invasion for over 300 years before finally falling to the British Empire in 1815.
The present-day city has undergone a number of changes in the name of development, since the country gained independence from the British in 1948. However, it still showcases its old monarchic heritage, along with the heritage of the colonial master; the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a vestige of the city’s Sinhala monarchy, while the Queen’s Hotel is a reminder of its colonial past. Colonial edifices can also be seen in the outskirts of the city, especially the Kadugannawa Pass, which was a weapon of psychological warfare used to subjugate the locals.
The Kadugannawa Pass – Fulfilling a Prophecy
As you travel to Kandy via the old Colombo-Kandy Road you will find a peculiar looking tunnel that is carved out of the natural rock itself. Famously known as the Kadugannawa Pass, this tunnel was a cunning ploy by the British to break the spirits of the nobility of the Kandyan Kingdom. A local prophecy stated that the Kandyan Kingdom would only fall when invaders pierce the rocks of the hill-country. The British, employing a strategic psychological move against the last kingdom of Ceylon, attempted to fulfil the prophecy by carving out a tunnel during the construction of the Colombo-Kandy Road, cementing the legitimacy of British rule. Technological innovation was at the centre of this construction built in 1820 under the direction of Captain William Francis Dawson. His efforts for the implementation of ingenious methods to construct this road is immortalised in the form of the Dawson Tower, located in the heart of the Kadugannawa Town. Once you pass Kadugannawa and the National Railway Museum, you will arrive at an intriguing suburb of Kandy – Peradeniya.
The Peradeniya suburb has long been known for its lush vegetation coupled with intriguing buildings. One such building is the Peradeniya University, which is considered one of the most picturesque universities in South Asia. It showcases typical Kandyan architecture, set against the backdrop of lush greenery.