The day was perfect for a leisurely walk, and at the heart of the city, the Kandy Lake was mesmerizing in the afternoon light. The tall trees surrounding the lake bring a sense of peace to the hustle and bustle of the busy city streets.
Words Gayathri Kothalawala.
Photographs Menaka Aravinda.
We headed towards the ‘Ulpenge’ – the two-story royal bathhouse with an indoor pool where the royals bathed centuries ago. It contained a quaint charm. The iconic gold roof of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which enshrines the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, attracted our attention.
The walākulu bamma (translated to cloud wall in English), a wall that extends around half of the lake, accompanied us as we moved on. We watched as schools of fish swam near the surface of the water. The lake is a sanctuary for fish, and there are nearby stalls, where visitors can purchase food to feed them.
The lake was built under the patronage of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. He is said to have built it on a paddy field called Tigolawela. Abundant with avifauna, fish and other aquatic life, the lake brings the beauty to the surrounding. According to several folk stories, it is also known as ‘Kiri Muhuda’ (Milk Ocean).
The pathway was filled with pedestrians from all walks of life. From school children and groups of friends, to overseas travelers taking in the sights to people going about their lives, the path offered different scenes that added vibrancy to the setting.
We walked towards the small building, which offered boat rides around the lake. We eagerly got on to a boat, and sailed towards the small island, Diyathilake Mandapaya, in the middle of the water. While access to the island is restricted, the greenery added beauty to the lake. According to legend, a tunnel leads from the island to the Dalada Maligawa and to the circular well in front of the Malwatta Temple. The surrounding trees were home to several species of birds, including herons, cormorants, as well as bats perched upside down.
Once back on the path, we walked on towards the Malwatta Temple. We enjoyed stunning views of the Temple of the Tooth Relic across the water. The distinct architecture of the Temple was reflected on the still surface of the lake, enhancing the beauty of the view.
The Kandy City Centre (KCC), an iconic landmark building in Kandy, could be seen over the water. Above the roof of the KCC, we could see the top of the stupa at the Asgiri Temple.
As we passed by, we saw a colorful kingfisher perched on a tree branch searching for food. We also spotted a turtle resting on a half-submerged branch, and a pelican on the hunt. As evening approached, fitness enthusiasts emerged, jogging around the lake.
After a leisurely walk, we reached the Kandy viewpoint, and enjoyed a vantage view of the lake and the city.
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