The Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya is a utopia for all nature lovers making it a must-visit place during your stay in Sri Lanka. It is also one of the most well-preserved gardens on this beautiful island. So, let’s dive right in to see what makes this location somewhere you shouldn’t miss out.
Surrounded by a picturesque landscape and replenished with fresh, fragrant, luscious flora and fauna, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya is the largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka. It extends over 145 acres of land and consists of over 4000 different species of plants. The origin of this garden dates back to the 13th century and is renowned as a world-famous tourist destination.
Scroll down to learn more information about this beautiful location that will give you an exceptional nature experience!
What Is Actually The Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya?
The Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya is the largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka. It is located in Peradeniya, in the Kandy district of the Central Province, and will take about 15 minutes to reach (about 5 km/ 3 miles) from the main city of Kandy. The gardens inhabit a horseshoe-shaped peninsula around which flows the major and longest river of Sri Lanka, the Mahaweli River.
This garden stretches over 145 acres of lush land. It features about 4000 different species of plants, along with the overloading charm and uniqueness of the plants and flora. Thus, it draws nearly two million local and international visitors per year.
The Significance Of The Royal Botanical Garden Of Peradeniya!
The beauty of this garden is highlighted by massive tropical trees, the flower garden with a vivid stripe border, and the Mahaweli River that flows around its edges. A small Orchid House inside the Royal Botanical Gardens displays some of the best orchid varieties, and the entrance is decorated with beds of scarlet Poinsettias and red Salvia coccinea.
The main Broad Walk is constructed with fine evergreen trees; beneath them, you could find the lovely “Blue Sky” and “Prickly Bush” floral beds. The National Herbarium of Sri Lanka (the main institute for the authentication of plants in Sri Lanka) is also located inside this garden premises.
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya was ranked among the “10 Greatest Botanical Gardens Around the World”, issued by The Guardian in 2018. Large pergolas and wire arches are covered with charming climber plants like Saritaea and Beaumontia. They are entangled with the stunning lilac-blue Petraea.
The Javan fig tree is another unique feature that shelters about 2500 square meters of the garden. In addition, you’ll be able to see over 110 endemic plants, along with medicinal plants. And the collection of magnificent orchids is only some of the significant features that turn out to be in the spotlight in this garden.
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History Of The Royal Botanical Gardens Of Peradeniya.
The origins of the Royal Botanical Garden date back to the 13th century (1371) when King Wickramabahu III came to the throne and held the court at Peradeniya near the Mahaweli river. Then, King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe had this site as his Royal Garden. Later, King Rajadhi Rajasinha lived in a temporary palace built in this area.
Sources also say that a temple was constructed in this location by King Wimala Dharmasuriya, but it was destroyed by the British when they were given over to the Kingdom of Kandy. After that, the foundation for a botanical garden was created by Alexander Moon in 1821. He used the garden to grow cinnamon and coffee plants.
The Botanical Garden of Peradeniya was officially inaugurated in 1843, with plants brought down from Kew Garden and the Kalutara Garden. It was developed under George Gardner as superintendent in 1844 and came under the administration of the Department of Agriculture of Sri Lanka when it was launched in 1912. The Avenue of Palms in this garden is known to be one of its most classical landmarks.
Another plant with an important history is the Cannonball Tree planted by Queen Mary and King George V of the United Kingdom in 1901. The history further states that Lord Louis Mountbatten (the supreme commander of the allied forces in South Asia) employed the Royal Botanical Garden during World War II as the base of the South East Asia Command.
Historically Prominent Trees In The Royal Botanical Gardens Of Peradeniya.
- A tea plant from China (1824) that is believed to be the first ever noncommercial tea plant in Sri Lanka.
- A giant Ceylon Ironwood tree was planted by Nicholas II in 1894.
- A large Amherstia planted by Prince Albert of Belgium.
- A BaikeaInsignis planted by the High Pontiff of the Muslim Dawoodi Bohra Community, Syedna Taher Saifuddin (RA), in 1941.
- A camphor tree planted by the First female prime minister of Sri Lanka – Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, in 1972.
- A Yellow Trumpet tree was planted by Crown Prince Akihito of Japan and his Crown Princess in 1981.
- The Sorrowless tree was planted by Queen Elizabeth in 1981.
Your Experience At The Royal Botanical Gardens Of Peradeniya.
You and your family could have a lifetime-worth experience in this massive, elegant garden! Tickets can be obtained at the entrance, and you have plenty of things to explore here while indulging in nature for a good 3-4 hours while enjoying a sunlit walk on the avenues in the River Drive.
The Royal Botanical Gardens is actually a paradise for dedicated photographers and can also be an excellent destination if you are a travel blogger. This place can make captivating Hanthana mountain range-backed captures for your Instagram, and other social media feeds. The garden is usually open from 8.00 AM- 5.30 PM.
Picnics And Other Activities
Weekends and public holidays can make this location crowded with local visitors, so it would be best if you could visit on a weekday if you need to have a peaceful exploration. You could find many ideal places to lay a picnic. So pack up some of your favorite foods and drinks along with a book to spend some quality, relaxed time.
However, it would be best if you skip the hot sun as sweating can make your visit unpleasant. Preferably, a time before 12 noon or after 3.00 PM would be your best bet. Since polythene is not allowed inside this well-preserved garden, make sure to pack your things in recyclable containers.
You could contact the Royal Botanical Garden to know if you are allowed to take any toys or playing items for the kids. They’d have a great time playing on the grassy plains inside the garden while restrooms, taps, and a cafeteria can be found inside the garden premises. Hire an electric buggy with a driver if you find it tiresome to travel around the garden on foot.
Get Access To The Sangili Palama (Hanging Bridge)
This bridge is located at the far end of the Peradeniya Botanical Garden. Once you reach the circular park, continue straight to Royal Palm Avenue. The bridge lies at the end of this road, where it meets the Mahaweli River, which is about 1/2 a mile from the entrance.
You could have an adventurous walk across it with the entire bridge bouncing with every step and swinging side to side. The swaying and shaking increase as you move toward the middle of the bridge. And the rattling from loose planks and stretching cables will make a thrilling yet nerve-wracking experience!
Overall Safety And Security At Royal Botanical Gardens Of Peradeniya.
The garden is overall a safe and comfortable place to stroll through with your family. However, you should be careful when walking along the paths where the river borders since no safety rails or a fence are built.
So, it is important to keep your kids close to you without letting them run toward the giant bamboo trees along the border of the garden, And we do not recommend taking your kids to the Sangili Palama (Hanging Bridge).
Is The Royal Botanical Gardens Of Peradeniya A Popular Tourist Destination?
Thanks to the mesmerizing landscape and the natural diversity of the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, it has undoubtedly become one of the best local and tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. The locals have even considered this place as the perfect place to celebrate the special moments in their lives.
That being said, this site has become an excellent location for wedding photo shoots, birthday shoots, and several other small, private celebrations. Hence, if you are lucky enough, you may also have the chance to catch a glimpse of a beautiful bride dressed in an embellished “Kandyan Osaree” and the groom in majestic royal attire!
Discover The Absolute Beauty Of Nature At The Royal Botanical Gardens Of Peradeniya!
The scenic Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya is a location where you should stop whenever you visit Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is spanned over a vast amount of land with a plethora of beautiful and exotic plant varieties.
The Orchid House is packed with a mesmerizing collection of orchid flowers, and you could capture some unforgettable clicks to your travel diary!