The hill country east of Kandy remains largely off the tourist map and far less developed than the area to the west of the city – a refreshingly untamed area of rugged uplands which still preserves much of its forest cover. Two main highways run east from Kandy to Mahiyangana. The more circuitous but smoother southern road meanders around the south side of the Victoria Reservoir and Dam, opened in 1989 as part of the huge Mahaweli Ganga Project and one of the island’s major sources of electricity. A visitor centre, just off the highway, offers fine views of the spectacular dam itself. Much of the densely forested area around the reservoir is protected as part of the Victoria-Randenigala Sanctuary (no entrance), and you might even spot the occasional elephant sticking its trunk out of the forest while you’re travelling down the road.
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