Kandy served as the capital of the last Sinhalese kingdom, which fell to the British in 1815 after defying the Portuguese and Dutch for three centuries. It took the British another 16 tough years to finally build a road linking Kandy with Colombo. The locals still proudly see themselves as a little different – and perhaps a tad superior – to Sri Lankans from the island’s lower reaches. Indeed, some grumble that when the new expressway from Kandy is completed (perhaps by 2019 or 2020), the cultured character of the city will inevitably be diluted.