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Kandy Lake

Description

Kandy Lake, also known as Nuwara Wawa, Kiri Muhuda, or the Sea of Milk, stands as a testament to the architectural prowess of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. Constructed in 1807, this artificial lake graces the heart of Kandy, Sri Lanka, near the iconic Temple of the Tooth. Delve into the rich history and captivating features that make Kandy Lake a unique marvel.

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Tigolwela, once a section of paddy fields, underwent a remarkable transformation under King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha in 1807. Before the Temple of the Tooth, the king converted this area into a majestic lake known as Kandy Lake.

The creation of a pond named Kiri-muhuda, meaning "sea of milk," birthed the terminology for the lake. Credited to the skilled architect Deveda Moolacharya, the lake was crucial in connecting the Mahamaluwa to the Malwatte Vihare through a strategically constructed dam. D'Oyley's historical accounts date the dam's construction between 1810 and 1812, solidifying its importance as a key infrastructure in the lake's creation.

The lake is not just a body of water; it's a canvas for local folktales. One intriguing legend surrounds a tiny island at the lake's centre, believed to have served as an undercover bathing area for the king's harem, connected to the palace by a covert tunnel.

Covering an impressive 6,544 square meters with a maximum depth of 18.5 meters, Kandy Lake boasts a 633.82-meter-tall parapet wall known as Walakulu Bemma—the central structure, once Diyatilaka Mandapaya, was a favorite pavilion for kings to unwind.

A stroll around Kandy Lake offers exercise and breathtaking views of the town and hills. The shaded trail that encircles the lake is a perfect spot to immerse oneself in the beauty of the surroundings.

The Malwatte temple, perched on the hills, provides a serene backdrop to the lake. As one of the two head temples of the Siyam Nikaya school of Theravada Buddhism, it adds a spiritual dimension to the scenic beauty.

Partially submerged in the lake, Ulpange, also known as the Queen's Bathing Pavilion, served as a retreat for Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe's concubines. It later served as a British repurposed police station with a fascinating history.

Constructed by the king to cross the lake, this island initially served as a retreat for the Queen and the court ladies. The British, however, transformed it into an ammo store, leaving behind a parapet resembling a fortress.

Walakula Bamma, also known as Clouds Wall, encircles half of Kandy Lake, adding an artistic touch to its natural beauty. Unfortunately, the British intervention halted its completion, leaving a lingering sense of mystery and incompleteness.

In the past, festival days witnessed the illumination of oil lamps through triangle openings in the wall, a tradition disrupted by the city's shift under British control.

FAQs

1. Is fishing allowed in Kandy Lake?

No, fishing is strictly prohibited in this protected lake.

2. What is the significance of the tiny island in the lake?

The island served as a bathing area for the king's harem and was linked to the palace by a covert tunnel.

3. What led to the transformation of Ulpange from a bathing pavilion to a police post?

After the British conquest, Ulpange underwent modifications, with an additional story added, transforming it into a library and a police post.

4. Why is Walakula Bamma, the Clouds Wall, incomplete?

The completion of Walakula Bamma was halted due to the British takeover, marking a significant shift in the city's control.

5. Can visitors still stroll around Kandy Lake?

Yes, there is a designated trail around the lake, allowing visitors to exercise or enjoy the scenic views.

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