Kandy - the Hill Capitol and Sinhalese Religious Center
Kandy is the English name for the city of Maha Nuvara in the centre of Sri Lanka. It lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy Valley which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy, both an administrative and religious city, is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka and is the capital of the Central Province (which encompasses the districts of Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya).
Historical records suggest that Kandy was first established by the King Wickramabahu (1357-1374 CE). In 1592 Kandy became the capitol city of the last remaining independent kingdom in the island after the coastal regions had been conquered by the Portuguese. Several invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch (16th, 17th and 18th century) and later by the British (most notably in 1803) were repelled. Portuguese invasions in the 16th century and 17th century were entirely unsuccessful. The British finally conquered Kandy in 1815.
As the capitol, Kandy had become home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha which symbolizes a 4th-century tradition that used to be linked to the Sinhalese monarchy, since the protector of the relic was the ruler of the land.
Today Kandy remains a important religious center of the Sinhalese and a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, namely those belonging to the Theravada school. It is the second largest city of in the island.
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