The journey to Kandy is captivating to say the least. Some 11 km (7 miles) out of Colombo is the Kandyan-era Buddhist temple at Sapugaskande, a pleasant ensemble of white-walled and red-tiled buildings sitting on top of a small, but steep hill and offering superb views over the city and palm trees below. Continuing inland, just north of Miriswatta, 27 km (17 miles) from Colombo, the Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens (open daily with an entrance charge) contain an array of plants indigenous to a wide range of tropical countries. The garden is also home to the historic exhibit which is the original rubber plant propagated from seeds taken from its native Brazil and smuggled down the Amazon in balls of cotton.
A few kilometers further inland on the road to Kandy is the tourist village of Cadjugama, where young women by the wayside beckon travelers to stop and buy their delicious freshly roasted cashew nuts (cadju) that gave the village its name. Cashews are used in many traditional Sri Lankan dishes; raw cashews, for example, can be cooked in coconut cream with spices, or “devilled”- roasted with chilli. The tradition is for travelers to pick the most attractive damsel to buy their supply of cashew nuts from.
At Ambepussa junction, the road goes northwards to Kurunegala or east towards Kandy. Take the eastern route to Nelundeniya, where a minor road leads south to the hamlet of Dedigama, which during the reign of Parakaramabahu V (from 1344 – 59), briefly served as one of the capitals of Sri Lanka during an anarchic period following the collapse of Polonnaruwa. The village has a few remains from this period, including remnants of a huge stupa and an interesting little museum next to it that is filled with artifacts recovered from the stupa’s relic chambers, including a beautiful sequence of tiny gold Buddhas charming to see if you have the time. Dedigama is also famous as the birthplace of Parakramabahu I – the famous Sinhalese king who was later to immortalize himself through his works in Polonnaruwa, the 2nd capital of ancient Lanka.
The main road to Kandy continues through the bustling and crowded town of
Kegalle, tuning point for the famous Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage. Beyond Kegalle the views become increasingly spectacular on the final approach to Kandy, with panoramic views over the surrounding, quaintly named hills – Lion Rock, Ship Rock, Camel Hill, Tuber Rock, Balloon Rock and, especially, the dramatic, flat-topped Bible Rock. The entrance to the city is Kadugannawa Pass, at the end of a sheer ascent of 250 meters ( or 820 ft) in a matter of 5 km (3 miles), complete with hairpin bends, from where there are breath-taking views southeast towards the ocean.
If you are interested in stopping at any of the above mentioned places mention it to your tour guide who will be glad to assist and fill you in with more detail information of the same. Alternatively you can also ask locals around the area when you’re traveling. Its important to note that the road from Colombo to Kandy is fairly commercialized and some may even try to take advantage of unassuming tourists.