The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya were originally exclusively reserved for the Kandyan kingdom’s royal family until the British took over the hill capital and converted the botanical gardens into an experimental base in 1821 in order to introduce coffee and other plants that might aid their tropical economy.
The botanical gardens are situated in Peradeniya, about 5.5 km from any hotel in Kandy. It is set on the banks of the Mahaweli river – the longest river in Sri Lanka – across 147 acres and is currently being operated by the Department of National Botanic Gardens.
The obscure origins of the botanic gardens can be traced as far back as 1371 and King Wickramabahu III had his court in the vicinity of the Mahaweli river. A temple built nearby was destroyed when the British took control and that also resulted in them using the gardens to experiment with coffee and other crops they hoped to introduce to the tropical climate. Alexander Moon brought in plants from Kew Gardens and several other places in 1821. It was curated by British superintendents until the Department of Agriculture was established in 1912.
The botanical gardens remain a very popular place to visit even today with over 4,000 species of flora and a constant trickle of visitors. If you are coming from Kings Pavilion, it would cost you about Rs. 400 in a tuk-tuk and less than Rs. 20 by bus from the main Peradeniya road.
Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world. Google+