Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is located in close proximity to the city of Kandy, which is the last kingdom of Sri Lanka and it is the capital of central province. And also Peradeniya botanical garden is near to Mahaweli River which is the longest river in Sri Lanka. The location and the environment of the garden are matching to spend a leisure time and it is a fantastic place to attract the tourists. Peradeniya garden is 110km from Colombo and nearly 6km from Kandy. Also the garden is located by Kandy – Colombo main road which is known as A1.
It is renowned for the collection the variety of Orchids,and has more than 300 varieties of Orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palms trees attach it is the National Herbarium. Total land mass of the botanical garden is 147 acres, 460 Meters above sea level with a 200 day annual rain fall.
Peradeniya Botanical is open daily from 8.00 am to 5.30 pm and the tickets are issued until 5.00 pm. There are two types of admission fee ranges for the visitors and the tickets are valid for the purchasing date only.
1. Local visitors – Adult: Subsidized price
Local visitors – Children: Subsidized price
2. Tourists – Adult: Rs.600.00
Tourists – Children (between 5-12 years): Rs.300.00
Tourists – Students: Rs.300.00
The derivation of Peradeniya botanical garden runs as far as the kingdom of King Vickramabahu 111. And the court was built in Peradeniya near the Mahaweli River. The same location was followed by King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1780) who made a Royal Garden here and King Rajadhi Rajasinghe (1780-1798) dwelled here who came to power after the King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe. The temple which was built by King Wimala Dharma had been destroyed by British when they were taken the control of Kingdom of Kandy. After the famous battle of Gannoruwa, a monk abided in the garden until the botanical garden was formed by Mr. Alexander Moon in 1821.
Alexander Moon used this garden for the plantation of cinnamon and coffee. And today it is a fantastic place to enjoy a large variety of various species of trees and insects. The visitors can experience more than 4000 of species from all corners of the world. The garden is well maintained from the past and even today the garden is maintained under the authorized department and the people. Initially the plants were brought from Colombo, Slave Island, Kew garden, Kalutara garden in Kalutara and some places in Sri Lanka. In 1924 Alexander Moon brought out “Catalog of Ceylon Plants” which has around 1127 botanical and native names native to island of Sri Lanka.
In 1844 George Gardner became the superintendent of the Peradeniya botanical garden and under his control the garden became a well maintained expanded garden. From 147 acres of land only 40 acres were used for the cultivation of jack, coconut, vegetables and some spices and those were sold by the government agent in Kandy. Many important improvements were introduced to the garden and also many more new plants were introduced to the garden in his period. Bamboo which was brought from Burma was planted in the garden in his time and he is the first professional gardener nominated for the Peradeniya botanical garden. Garden expanded over 60 acres in this time period.
After George Gardner’s death George Henry Kendrick Thuwaites became the superintendent in 1849. Mr. Thuwaites had maintained the garden over 30 years in a very good quality and high status. Peradeniya botanical garden became very famous in all over the world and its reputation was expanded everywhere.
The Peradeniya botanical garden is one of the largest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka which is in a cool climate of Kandy where 500 meters above sea level. The garden has a collection of Orchids, species, medicinal plants, palm trees, and many more. The total area given to botanical garden is 147 acres with around 200 days annual rainfall. Currently the garden is maintained by the division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture.
Today the botanic garden does the floriculture conservation, butterfly conservation, birdlife conservation, insect conservation, biodiversity of Sri Lanka. Annually over one million of natural lovers including many small children are coming to the garden and they are seeing the glory of the Royal Botanical garden with many pleasures. In addition to that over 5% many people are visiting the garden to take photos of this marvelous natural environment and they are experiencing the bio diversity of Peradeniya botanical garden. And also they love hiking watching birds, butterflies, colorful flowers and feel the comfort of the cool environment. As the garden has an amazing collection of medicinal plants, many students and the visitors who are interesting in Ayurveda practices are visiting here and getting the knowledge of those valuable plants. The visitors are given the facility to take booklets, verbal notes from the garden office.
When you are entering to the garden you will see the main entrance of the garden is opening to the river drive which has a suspension bridge over the Mahaweli River. There are number of avenues in the river drive such as Double coconut Avenue, Cook’s Pine Avenue, Cabbage Avenue, Palmyra Palm Avenue and Royal Palm Avenue. The spice garden is located at the right side of the main entrance and it has a large variety of spices. There are many valuable spices which you should see and experience as a visitor like Vanilla, Pepper, Coves, etc. At the right path of the spice garden you will find the Orchid House which is one of the most attractive places in the Peradeniya botanical garden. It was introduced to the garden in 1950’s which is maintaining a large variety of orchid collection and producing neo hybrids. The orchid house has around 300 of species. The new Orchid showroom was formed in 1970’s and the production of Orchid hybrids and plants are daily increasing with spread out of sales. The Orchid house itself has an amazing collection of orchids as mentioned above since it is producing neo hybrids and you will obviously enjoy and collect a memorable experience from that. The Great Circle is another place in the garden which is full of memories of the visitors of Peradeniya. This is an area which has nearly 4 acres and there are trees planted in the circle.
Princess Henry of Prussia had visited in 1899 and she had planted a “Flamboyante” of Madagascar, King Edward VII visited the garden in 1875 and planted a “Bo” (Peepal) tree, Czar of Russia visited in 1891 and planted a “Na” tree, The King of Greece visited in 1891 and planted a Brownea grandiceps tree, in 1898 Prince Henry of Prussia had visited the garden and planted an Amherstia nobilis, in 1893 “Asoka” tree had been planted by Emperor of Austria, and the Prince of Wales planted a “Cannonball” tree in 1901 in his visit to Peradeniya. Also there are some trees planted by the famous politicians in the world, great scientists, and many famous people in the world such as Indira Gandhi who was a prime minister of India, the great scientist Yuri Gagarin who was firstly orbit the earth, Marsha Tito the person who had rebuilt Yugoslavia in the Second World War, U Thant, etc.
In the garden you will find a natural pavilion grown from an East Indies sapling which is covering 1600 sq. meters and the sprawling roots and branches are creating a fantastic and an attractive natural pavilion for the visitors. The small children can really enjoy here with the cool weather environment. Children can play and enjoy the nature here.
There is a Cabbage Palm avenue in the garden which was planted in 1905 from South Africa. And you will find a large colony of fruit bats who are hanging in the trees with their unique style of upside down. The environment here is really natural and you can see the Mahaweli River on the other hand of the road which is running along in this bats colony. The sound and the scenery created by thousands of bats will give you a memorable experience for your life. When you are going along this road you will find the natural roof which is built by branches of the trees which are providing a cool environment and be care full when you see the sky since there are bats hanging in every branch. Cannonball Avenue is one of the most attractive avenues in the garden which is lined with well grown cannonball trees with the creepers which are enfolded with large fruits. Usually the Sinhala people love Sal trees since the flowers have a unique shape and a smell. Also it has a bud which is similar to a tiny stupa and this tiny stupa is sheltered by a hood which is looking like a cobra and this small setup is surrounded by set of small fluorites.
Among all the artistic and natural trees there is one more which giant leaves and it is very easy to recognize a Talipot Palms. The Talipot Palms are one of the famous trees in Sri Lanka’s botanical gardens. The flowers are blooming once in the life time. Talipot Palm trees are producing the largest bunch of flowers in the world after around 40 years. The flower bloomed Talipot tree is something very fantastic and amazing to see. The leaves of Talipot Palm trees are used by people for many different things in there day to day life. Since it is very large people can use them to make shelter and one leaf can cover around 20 heads. People are using two leaves together and by sewing them, they can make tents. Most of the gypsies are using these kinds of shelters and farmers can use these leaves for many purposes.
In the past, there were no any papers to write and even those days the people used Talipot leaves as papers. First, the well-grown Talipot leaves were picked and boiled. After boiling the large leaves, they should be dried in the sunshine to become smooth and stretched. After going through some hard steps in the cycle of making Talipots the final output is coming as Talipots palm-leaf parchments which are used to write the Mahawansa and all the other ancient books. When you reach to the center of the garden you will find an artificial lake which takes the shape of island of Sri Lanka with a large variety of water plants. Most of the visitors love to see the giant water lilies and papyrus reeds. Small children will obviously enjoy in this place since it seems to be very attractive. Another most attractive thing in the garden is the amazing and great collection of species of Butterflies. Small kids will love to experience these lovely sceneries of butterflies as the butterflies are kind of an insect which they love a lot. Since the botanical garden is full of bloomed colorful flowers; this is a marvelous location for butterflies to live in peace. Crimson Rose, Common Mormon and the Blue Mormon are the most common butterfly species which can be seen in the garden. You can see more than 10000 trees in the garden and most of them have been planted before many years and still spreading their species all over the island. The visitors love to experience the new air and they can fill their lungs with this fresh air which gives the feeling of the Sri Lanka’s amazing natural environment. This cool natural environment has the ability to attract visitors and give them a new enjoyable mind. Even now the garden has the view of the Royalty which was in 14th century. In the British ruling time Peradeniya botanical garden had become one of the famous botanical gardens in Asia.
Eventually the British despoiled the ruling power of the kingdom of Kandy in year 1815, still the Royal botanical garden was being maintained as the Royal Pleasure garden and the last queen also had enjoyed in this garden. The Peradeniya botanical garden is kind of a wonderland since where ever you walk in the garden you will realize a new nature event. The great vegetation of the garden will obviously surprise the visitors. After the month of March the new flowers are beginning to bloom and the trees are beginning to bear fruits. In this period of time new birds, butterflies and insects are attracted to the garden which creates a fantastic collection of sceneries for the visitors.
The visitors are lucky to watch nearly 80 species of birds in Peradeniya garden itself. You will see 10 endemic species of birds there and not only the endemic species but also the migrant birds which we can see very rarely. Yellow Fronted Barbet, Layards Parakeet, Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot, Brown Capped Babbler are some of the endemic birds which the visitors are love to see most of the times. There are reptiles as well in the garden. You can experience with 20 species of reptiles there and most of them are endemic. Peradeniya garden is an ideal place for the amphibians and there are more than 15 species recognized in the garden currently. If you are lucky you will see the Ceylon Caecilian which is known as a living fossil in the garden. Scientifically it is known as Icthyopis glutinous. There are about 18 species of mammals in the garden and that also gives a worth for the bio diversity of the garden. In the garden you will find capacious well maintained lawns, an Octagon Conservatory which is very famous among the visitors, a collection of beautiful ferns, crotons, collections of cannas and hibiscus, chrysanthemums, a fantastic river bank with huge bamboo trees which are very famous among all the visitors, colorful bougainvillea. Also you can enjoy the exotic species collections of palms, Ficus elastica and many more.