1902 Encyclopedia > Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy, Sri Lanka

KANDY, a town of Ceylon, formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name, situated towards the heart of the island, at a height of 1713 feet above the sea, 74 _ miles by rail from Colombo. It lies round the margin of an artificial lake constructed by the last king of Kandy in 1806, and is beautifully surrounded by hills.

The most striking objects of interest are the temples (of which twelve are Buddhist and four Brahman), the tombs of the Kandian kings, and the various buildings of the royal residence, partly allowed to fall into disrepair, partly utilized by the Government. Of the temples the Dalada Malagawa is worthy of particular mention; it claims, as the name indicates, to be in possession of a Buddha tooth.

Kandy is the seat of a Government agent and of a district judge, and regular sessions of the criminal court are held in the town. As a municipality (constituted in 1865, and divided into five wards in 1871) it is governed by a body of eight councillors.

Among the public buildings and institutions are the Government house or pavilion, erected in 1824, the planters’ association, two libraries, an industrial school, and Trinity College, established in 1857, and reopened in 1871 after being closed for six years. The Church Missionary Society, to which the college owed its existence, began its labours in 1818.

Kandy was occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in 1763 ; but in both instances the native kings succeeded in shaking off the foreign yoke. The British got possession of the place in 1803, but the garrison afterwards capitulated and were massacred, and it was not till 1814-15 that the king was defeated and dethroned. The British authority was formally estab-lished by the convention of March 2, 1815. In 1848, owing to an attempt at rebellion, the town was for a time under martial law.

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