Sri Lanka has been richly endowed with many natural gifts that we’re able to boast about! Apart from the wild and marine life, scenic landscapes, we have also been gifted with some unique fauna and flora. A stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens of Sri Lanka will make the nature lover within you jump with joy and excitement! The Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is one of the top Kandy attractions that you must not miss when you’re in this paradise island.
The Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is the largest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka and is home to more than 4000 different plant species, some of local origin and others being specimens from around the world. The gardens sprawl over 60 hectares (i.e. 147 acres) of land.
History of the Gardens –
It is said that the history of the Gardens dates back to 1371, when King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and established his court at Peradeniya. Later, during the reign of King Kirti Sri (1747 to 1780) the Gardens were made a Royal Garden and it is said that during the period of King Rajadhi Rajasirighe (1780— 1798) he resided within the Gardens where a temporary residence was erected for him.
Thereafter, the Gardens were converted into Botanical Gardens by the British in 1821 during the deputy governorship of General Sir Edward Barnes. Alexander Moon was appointed the superintendent of the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. In the year 1824, Mr. Moon published a “Catalogue of Ceylon Plants” with the description of 1,127 plants referring to same by native names as well as botanical names. Sri Lanka’s first tea trees were planted here at Peradeniya Gardens in 1824, though the full commercial potential wasn’t to be realized for another half a century.
Coffee, Tea, Nutmeg, Rubber & Cinchona – the prime import crops of Sri Lanka were firstly tested in Peradeniya Royal Botanic Gardens. After the death of Mr. Alexander Moon, a succession of superintendents followed some of whom included George Gardener and Dr. Thwaites. Dr. Thwaites is credited with bringing worldwide recognition to the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens.
What to see at the Gardens?
Take a stroll through the Gardens, with a tour guide available at the site, or by your own and experience some of the rarities and unique plants present within the Gardens. here are around ten thousand plants & trees inclusive of 4000 labelled species.
There are certain areas within the Gardens which are a must-visit. These include the Spice Garden, which is full of exotic spices, some of which are unique to Sri Lanka, the Orchid House which is home to multiple varieties of orchids, some of them can only be found at the Gardens, the Great Circle is a grassy central extending over 4 acres in extent and around the circle is a diverse array of trees planted by dignitaries, who had visited the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens and also the Cannonball Avenue which is lined with cannonball trees (locally known as “Sal Trees”) wreathed in creepers from which hang the large, round fruits… The Sal flowers have a singular shape: a tiny stupa shaped bud in the centre is shaded by a cobra-like hood & surrounded by tiny florettes which resemble a crowd of worshipers.
You can also visit the natural pavilion formed by a Javan fig tree which has been grown from a sapling brought from the East Indies. The tree covers 1600 sq. meters of the lawn with its sprawling roots & branches creating a remarkable natural pavilion. In the centre of the Gardens is an artificial lake with water plants including the giant water lily & papyrus reeds. Beside the lake is a white-domed rotunda commemorating George Gardener, the Superintendent during 1844-1849.
Some must-knows and useful tips for your Garden adventure –
The Garden is open to the public all 365 days of the year from 7.30 am to 5.00 pm. A ticket for an adult (12 years or older) is prices at LKR 2000, whilst the ticket for a child (younger than 12 years) will be LKR 1000.
Of course, the Garden is quite a large place and may even take up to a day to fully explore. So, we recommend comfortable clothing and footwear for your stroll! Maybe even some sunscreen! There are canteens inside the Gardens, so you will be able to quench your thirst and grab a quick snack or even a full meal while you wander through the Gardens.
We are ready to make your Botanical Garden even better! The Cinnamon Citadel Kandy is situated in close proximity to the Botanical Gardens and we always encourage our guests to make a visit to the Gardens. We can even organize a trip to the Gardens, curated to your specificities, with the help of our in-house naturalists! We at Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts through our latest safety initiative Cinnamon Care has implemented a unique safety and distancing protocol throughout all our hotels and restaurants to make sure that all our guests can enjoy their stay in a comfortable and safe manner. So, do book your stay with us for a truly memorable and safe experience!
Author – Shenella Fonseka