With the decline of the ancient civilization of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Ruhuna (mainly due to frequent south Indian invasion), the royal capital shifted to Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Gampola,Kurunegala, Kotte, Sitawaka and finally to Kandy, At the time of British occupation of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815, the territory under the Kandyan British administration comprised 21 decentralized administrative units, It included four ‘ Maha Disavas’ eight ‘ Disavas’ and nine Ratas’. The name Kandy is a version of ‘Kanda Uda Rata’ (the country over the mountains). In Sinhala it is called ‘ Mahanuwara’ which means the ‘Great City’ It was also known as Senkadagala. Sri Wickrema Rajasinha the last King of Sri Lanka, was taken captive by the British forces in 1815, and deported to Vellore in South India, where he died in 1832. The geographical location of Kandy was a natural fortress for defense. It had been built in a valley surrounded by three mountain ranges; Udawatta Kele, Hantane range, and Bahirawakanda range.
The Sri Dalada Maligawa, which enshrines the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, is the holiest shrine in the Buddhist world and to the Buddhist people of Sri Lanka. According to history, the Sacred Tooth Relic was brought to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Kithsiri Meghavarna (301-328) in Anuradhapura, by Princess Hemamala and prince Dantha from Kalinga Deshaya, India. Since then, it has been referred to as the palladium of the kings. The Sacred Tooth Relic has been protected and venerated by kings and all Buddhist devotees. Kings, who built temples for the Sacred Tooth Relic within the royal Palace always considered it an extremely important edifice in local architecture.
When the kingdoms were changed due to political instability the Sacred Tooth Relic was removed from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa and, Thereafter to Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kuranegala, Gampola, Kotte and Kandy. The Sacred Tooth Relic was housed at specially built temples in those kingdoms. Since the reign of King Vimaladharmasuriya of Kandyan Kingdom, the Sacred Tooth Relic has been kept in a specially constructed building, where it has been conserved ever since, It became a special building of great importance and was well decorated and looked after carefully throughout history. A world heritage city, Kandy is the capital of the Central Province. Sri Lanka’s most visited tourist destination, Kandy is in the middle of mountains and its beauty is enhanced by the artificial lake and the river Mahaweli and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens.
Sri Dalada Maligawa, the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of 59 the Buddha, is the main attraction. Its architecture, decorative walls, golden roof and fine wood work is vivid. Visitors can view the daily pooja (religious service) in the morning, mid-day and in the evening. You can also visit the mementos of Kandy’s British colonial period of 133 years until 1948, including churches and the British Garrison Cemetery, which is well maintained. Kandy district comprises of 12 electorates, where 2980 villages were administered by 22 Local Government Authorities.