The Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya is a true work of art, most of which was created by nature itself and man has only touched and embellished nature’s creation. The best traditions from all over the world have been collected in the park. Almost 60 hectares are planted with about 5,000 plants from all over the world. Just imagine all the riot of colours and shades of green when the park begins to blossom. This beauty cannot be described, you have to see it with your own eyes.
A little history of the botanical gardens
When the garden was founded it was conceived as a residence for the royal family who at the time resided in Kandy. It was supposed to be a small garden with places for prayer, meditation and native plants. But that all changed in the 17th century when an English botanist, Muna, agreed with the English government to create a real botanical garden where he planned to collect plants from all over the world. This idea appealed to the English colonists and things got rolling.
The British imagined that they would bring coffee and solve some economic problems there, but the botanists did not share their imagination and went about their business – bringing in rare plants. The idea of growing coffee in the orchard finally failed when coincidentally a virus attacked the coffee bushes and 99% of them were infected with spores.
How to get to the botanical gardens
The botanical garden is located in a suburb of Kandy, just 5-6 km from the city, so connectivity is excellent. You can get there by taxi, tuk-tuks, bus, train and private car.
Ticket prices, garden opening hours
Visiting the garden is not free, on average (it depends on the season and exchange rate) the cost is about 10 – 15 dollars. Tickets can be purchased as soon as you arrive at the garden. In addition to a pass to the garden at the entrance you will be given a brochure with a map, description of the most valuable and rare specimens to view.
The botanical gardens are very popular with tourists but surprisingly there are no queues at the entrance and you will not feel crowded inside the park, as it covers almost 60 hectares.
The Botanical Gardens are open from 7:30am to 5pm and in our opinion, the best time to visit is towards noon, when the lush garden is filled with the brilliant rays of the Lankan sun.
What is a must-see at the botanical garden?
As we mentioned above, the garden covers almost 60 hectares, it is impossible to go around all of its grounds in one day, so we have compiled must-see spots in the garden. If you are a keen nature lover and want to explore the whole garden we recommend hiring an electric vehicle, which costs between 10 and 20 dollars.
We recommend you start with the Orchid Orangery, which has about 100 rare species. Each individual flower is stunningly beautiful and has a shape never seen before. And what fragrances are there, it is impossible to describe in words. Just imagine the notes of chocolate, vanilla, musk and citrus, all woven together. It makes you dizzy.
Once inside the garden you may notice that it is divided into zones by the palm alleys. Note that all the palm trees are different from each other. You can find Seychelles, peach, ginger, palm, talipotum and many other palms in the garden. It is estimated that there are 200 different species of palm.
I would like to pay special attention to the Talipot palm as it is the rarest and most beautiful tree which blossoms only once, when it is 50 years old. After it blooms, it dies. This palm tree is sacred to the Lankans and has great significance as the first Buddhist legends were recorded on its leaves. Nowadays, horoscopes and important information about the birth of a child is recorded on the leaves of this palm tree.
It is entirely designed in the style of the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. There are gazebos and planted sakura trees in its grounds. Everything is made in the style and taste of the Japanese. All the plants for this area have been brought from Japan.
All the exotic fruits of the island and overseas are concentrated in this area. Mangoes, papayas, rambutans, durianas, breadfruit and many others are tempting to pick, but it is strictly forbidden. If you don’t do so, you might have to pay a hefty fine. Trust me, it’s not worth it as you can buy most of these fruits for next to nothing at the local market stalls.
Pond (lake) – map
The pond (lake) – map is one of the attractions of the botanical gardens. It is an artificially created pond that completely replicates the borders of this beautiful island. In the centre of the pond there is a small embankment which mimics an island on which a small tree is placed, this tree marks the city of Kandy. Originally used as a source of fresh drinking water, the pond has now lost its purpose and is only used to grow water lilies and reeds.
This place is amazing. There is no other place like it anywhere else in the world. This place is a spice garden. As you have already guessed, here they grow a variety of spices that we use in our food. There is an incredible aroma around the spice garden, filled with badjan, zira, nutmeg and other heady aromas.
Drunken spruces, also called drunken spruces or dancing spruces, are the rarest of the Aracurian spruces. They may at first glance appear to be nothing more than trees damaged by high winds, but this is a misconception. Locals believe that nature has created them in such a bizarre shape to combat vermin, but this is also a deep misconception. It’s quite simple, aracuriums are quite powerful spruces, during the rapid growth the trunk cannot cope with the weight of the branches and thus begins to lean to the ground.
To sum up
The Royal Botanic Gardens is a place for walking, relaxing, enjoying nature and the soul. Everything about it is beautiful and fascinating. As soon as you enter its territory, you feel a kind of oneness with nature, your soul begins to flutter. Like most botanic gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens are designed for aesthetic appreciation, except for the spice gardens, which have purely practical uses. The spices grown in the garden’s plantations are exported. Many of us consume precisely the spices grown in this garden.