Hailed to be one of the most beautiful and diverse botanical gardens in South Asia, the Peradeniya
Gardens, as is known by the locals, is certainly worth a visit on your trip to Sri Lanka.
Located along the banks of the Mahaveli River, the longest river in the island, the Royal Botanical
Gardens is set in a sprawling 147 hectares of land. It is the largest and oldest botanical garden in Sri
Lanka. It once served as the royal gardens to Kandyan kings in the 18
th century, but was later
transformed into an agricultural garden by the British. Originally planned as a land for coffee and
cinnamon harvestation, it was later cultivated with plants from all around the country. Today, it welcomes
over 2 million visitors throughout the year.
The sprawling gardens are inhabited by around 4000 species of plants, trees, herbs, and flowers. The
extensive collection of fauna is well documented and labeled throughout the park, along with their
scientific names and origins. Many of the plants and trees in the park have interesting stories about how
they came to be here, and you can read all about that as well.
The park is divided into several avenues and plant houses, each of them beautifully unique in their own
right. The Royal Botanical Garden is renowned for its diverse species of Orchids, and the Orchid House
is one of the park's most visited regions. The gardens are known to host various medicinal plant species,
and is also home to the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. Other places of note in the park is the royal
palm tree avenue, the cannonball avenue, rose garden, heritage garden, spice garden, and more. You
can also see a 40 meter-tall Burmese bamboo tree and a mammoth Javan fig tree.
The gardens are well maintained, and are an important part of developing and maintaining many of Sri
Lanka's most important plant life. Those who find it hard to be on their feet for long can also enjoy a tour
of the gardens, specifically on golf cats that take you around. On your way out, you can stop by at the
cafe for a refreshing drink and snack, or browse around in the gift shop to pick up some authentic local