Occupying a breathtaking location of 460 meters above sea level in the hill capital of Kandy, the Royal Botanical Garden of Peradeniya is a lot more than just the largest garden of its kind on the island. Spread out over an expansive 147 acres and enjoying 200 days of rainfall annually, this beautifully designed leisure garden is also one of the most popular attractions in the central province of the country. Reputed for its illustrious collection of orchid varieties which numbers over 300, the centuries old botanical haven was conceived in 1371 by then sovereign King Kirti Sri Rajasinhe before it was transformed to a botanical enclave by General Sir Edward Barnes during colonial times.
Consisting of tropical vegetation and lined with palms, screw pines, ferns bamboos and lianas, the garden boasts ten thousand trees and plants which belong to a whopping 4000 species of flora. Ideal for picnics and family outings, the parkland is also a favourite of avid walkers who can tour the spacious environs of the venue for hours discovering its vibrant floral attributes, walkways laden with shady trees and water surfaces.
Highlights include the garden’s renowned Orchid House which boasts an extraordinary collection of e flower species and its resplendent Spice Garden heavy with the intoxicating scent of vanilla, cardamom, pepper and cloves. The Great Circle and its memorial trees are also worth exploring as it features special trees planted by distinguished visitors to the garden which includes King Edward VII, Russian Czars, and the Prince of Wales, the King of Greece, Indira Gandhi, the Emperor of Austria and other dignitaries. Nestled between the Great /circle and its lawn lies the park’s Herbarium which is followed by an equally impressive arboretum.
Home to an extensive Medicinal Garden, Fiscus collection, Ebony collection and a Cycad Collection, the venue also boasts a Plant House and a Cactus House dedicated to the thorny plant species. Visitors should also stopover at the Octagon Conservatory and the fernery while enjoying the lake shores laden with Chinese, Burmese and Japanese bamboo varieties from the country’s Asian neighbours. Infested with multi-hued bougainvilleas, chrysanthemums and other local and global flowers of repute, the garden also has its fair share of Sal Trees which are unique for its stupa shaped interiors and small florettes shading its centre.
The lake at the heart of the garden is also a preferred haunt for seasoned visitors who enjoy the massive water lilies and papyrus reeds that adorn its surface. A white shaded dome shaped rotunda in tribute of George Gardener is also located adjacent to the lake.
Tourists on the hunt for luxury Sri Lanka hotels in the hill station will be more than happy with Jetwing Hunas Falls Hotel. Fully equipped with its own golf course, sprawling gardens and a lake, this stylish rest is a popular choice among Nuwara Eliya hotels.