The laid back 'capital' of the hill country, and the historical bastion of Buddhist power, is built around a peaceful lake and set in a picturesque bowl of hills. It has a distinctive architectural character thanks to its gently sloping tiled roofs and the town center is a delightful compendium of old shops, noise, buses, markets and hotels. Its standout attraction is the octagonal Dalada Maligawa ( Temple of the Tooth), a temple which houses Sri Lanka's most important religious relic - the sacred tooth of Buddha. There are daily ceremonies of homage to the Tooth Relic, each attracting white-clad pilgrims carrying lotus blossoms and frangipani.During the frenetic Kandy Esala Perahera celebrations, a replica of the shrine is carried through the city on an elephant. Other sights include the small but excellent National Museum, the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens, and the Udawattakelle Udawattakele, a peaceful haven for bird life. There are plenty of lovely scenic walks around Kandy, one of which leads to the Mahaweli, where you may see elephants being bathed. The Kandyan Art Association & Cultural Center beside the lake has good displays of local crafts and an auditorium for popular dance performances. Kandy is just on 120km (75mi) north east of Colombo.