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Diocese of Kandy

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Diocese of Kandy
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Kandy is a hilly area in the Central province of Sri Lanka, spanning a land area of about 5,620.1 square kilometers. The city of Kandy, located 500 m above sea level, is filled with trees. It lies in the midst of hills of rare vegetal species. Tea and rubber are the main industries, owing to the hilly nature of the country.

The place is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka. The name Kandy is derived from the Sinhalese Kanda Uda Pas Rata, literally ' the five districts on the mountain'. The Portugese shortened this to 'Candea', using the name for both the kingdom and its capital. In Sinhala, Kandy is called Maha Nuwara, meaning, "Great City" (or capital).


Kandy is a Sinhalese majority city; although other ethnic groups do reside, such as the large presence of Moors in areas such as Tennekumbura and due to historical reasons such as the Moors settling in the upland valley areas. There are also a sizeable minority of Tamils living in Kandy.


The Sinhala, Tamil and English languages are in use.


Kandy is first mentioned in the fourteenth century, when the Temple of the Tooth, was built to contain that famous relic of Buddha brought to Sri Lanka for safety about 311. In 1592 the town became the capital of Ceylon, and the king's palace was built about the year 1600. Kandy was the last stronghold of the old dynasty, and kings continued to rule there up to the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the last king, Vikrama Raja Sinha, was taken prisoner by the British (1815) and sent to Vellore. The Temple of the Tooth still remains, in honor of this precious relic of the Buddha. 

The Vicariate of southern Colombo had been in the hands of the Sylvestrine Benedictines since 1855, but the needs of the country demanding a greater supply of missioners than the Sylvestrines could meet, the Vicariate of Kandy was entrusted to them in 1883.

The town had a seminary for native students of India and Sri Lanka, now only for Sri Lankan seminarians.

Kandy diocese is adjacent to Anuradhapura in the North, Batticaloa in the West, Galle in the South. The diocese was erected on Sept. 1, 1886. On Jan. 5, 1939, Bishop Bishop Clemente Pagnani was appointed as the first Bishop of Kandy on Nov. 25, 1886. Before his appointment, the had served as Vicar Apostolic of Kandy. He died in June 1911.

Earlier what is now the Kandy diocese was under Colombo diocese and later carved out as a new diocese of Kandy. The Kandy diocesan patron saint is St. Anthony.  


Kandy is located in a high elevation and in the middle of Sri Lanka. The island itself has a tropical climate but Kandy being in the middle and at high altitude, does have a cooler temperature.

The monsoon season happens from May through July as well as December and January. The island is in the northern hemisphere and therefore has its coldest month in January and the hottest in July. The average temperature is about 29.25 degrees Celsius.


From the palm-groves and sweltering heats of Colombo the railway line threads its way a distance of seventy-five miles through tea-plantations, wild bush, and forest, across mountain streams and under crags of limestone overhanging in great boulders.

In the vicinity of Kandy is an immense cemetery where were deposited the bodies of the mighty kings and heroes of Sri Lanka, and about four miles away are the botanical gardens of Peradenia, covering one hundred and fifty acres with most luxuriant exotic vegetation. Indeed the vegetation all around Kandy is luxuriant, and when the white flower of the cinnamon tree is in blossom the effect is very wonderful. Other trees that furnish the landscape are the ebony and satinwood. The woods here also have a curiosity in the nature of a fruit, the caskew, which produces its nut outside of the skin, and form the fruit itself, which is not very palatable, a strong intoxicant is distilled. Serpents are numerous, especially the cobra and the carawilla.

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