Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka, lying amidst the hills on the Kandy plateau. The city is the capital of the Central Province as well as a religious and administrative centre for the capital. It is also known for being the home of one of the most holy places of worship within the Buddhist world, and was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1988.
The city has been known through the centuries by a variety of names, though the English name of Kandy – born during colonial times – is drawn from an anglicised version of the Sinhalese Kanda Uda Rata (which means the land on the mountain).
The Portuguese shortened the name to “Candea”, though it is now generally named Kandy by all.
There are numerous attractions to see, spiritual, botanical and outdoorsy, but there is also one that will probably ring a bell with die hard tea drinkers – the Hantana Tea Factory Museum, located in the town of Hantana, about three miles away.
The Tea Factory was constructed in 1925, and was later converted as a museum in which you will find interesting exhibits outlining the lives of the tea pioneers Thomas Lipton and James Taylor, as well as lots of vintage tea processing reading matter.
The factory had actually remained abandoned for more than ten years, then refurbished by the Planters’ Association of Sri Lanka together with the Sri Lanka Tea Board, and made into a museum documenting the 130-year history of the first tea plant brought to Sri Lanka by James Taylor, a British gentleman. The Tea Museum is a joint project by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Planters’ Association of Sri Lanka.
The building is made up of four floors, the ground floor housing heaving machinery, and the first floor illustrating some examples of the drying and fermenting process.
On the second floor you can find the library and audio visual presentations, with sales outlets available on the third floor, where you can buy a variety of teas. The fourth floor has been converted to a select restaurant, where you can enjoy a complimentary cuppa of any tea flavour of your choice, including white, green, black and even malsala, as well as being able to look out onto a breath-taking view.
The Tea Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday from: 8.15 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. with a 45 minute lunch break from 12.15 p.m. to 1.00p.m.
To get there: take the bus which drops you directly in front of the factory (though there is a small hill to ascend to get into the grounds, or, if driving, there is always ample parking space available.