Kandy Lake is an artificial lake that is also known as the Kiri Muhuda (or the “Sea of Milk”), and it can be found in the heart of Kandy city. Built in the early 19th century by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, the last king of Kandy’s ancient Sinhalese monarchy, the lake is in front of the sacred Temple of the Tooth.
Legend has it that the manmade island at the centre of the lake was used by the king’s harem, and was connected to the royal palace complex via a secret passageway. The pavilion at this centre was also said to have been used by the king and his queen as a place of relaxation. When Kandy was captured by the British (a mere three years after the lake was first installed), the small artificial island was used as an ammunitions store, and a parapet was added around its border.
To the north, closer to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the Queens Bathing Pavilion sits partially immersed in the waters of the lake. The king’s wives and concubines are said to have used the pavilion when bathing in the lake, but it was eventually converted into a library building by the British.
The perimeter of the lake features a shady path that is used by locals for scenic walks, and is over three kilometres long with views of the surrounding hills. The lake itself encompasses an area of more than 6000 square meters and, at its lowest point, is seen to reach a depth of around 18.5 metres.