Online Encyclopedia

KANDY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 650 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KANDY, a town near the centre of Ceylon, 75 M. from Colombo by rail, formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name, situated' towards the heart of the island, 1718 ft. above the sea. It lies round the margin of an artificial lake constructed by the last king of Kandy in 18o6, and is beautifully surrounded by hills. The most striking objects 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 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 established by the convention of March 2, 1815. In 1848, owing to an attempt at rebellion, the town was for a time under martial law. It has been greatly improved of recent years. Sir William Gregory when governor did much to restore the ancient Kandy decorations, while the Victoria Jubilee Commemoration Building, including " Ferguson Memorial Hall," and two fine hotels, add to the improvements. The Royal Botanic Gardens are situated at Peradeniya, 3 M. distant. Kandy is a uniquely beautiful, highland, tropical town, full of interesting historical and Buddhistic associations. A water supply and electric lighting have been introduced. Roman Catholic missions are active in the work of education, for which a large block of buildings has been erected. Church of England, Wesleyan and Baptist missions are also at work. The population of the town in 1900 was 26,386; of the district, 377,591. Average annual rainfall, 812 in.; average temperature, 75.3. There is a branch railway from Kandy, north to Matale, 17 M.
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