Peradeniya gardens or Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya located about 6 km from Kandy. There are several thousand species of flora from Sri Lanka, Asia and many countries around the world.
Peradeniya gardens are undoubtedly pleasure gardens. It is nice to walk unhurried among the colorful flower alleys and gigantic exotic trees or to listen to birds singing in some romantic corner. Although they are called Royal Botanical Gardens, they certainly look different from Gardens of Pleasure founded in this place in 1371 by King Wickramabahu III. I wonder what he would feel today walking around the modern gardens? Would such a walk make him happy?
Before the gardens in Peradeniya gained today’s character there was a garden called Kew on the Slave Island. When the size of the garden became insufficient to conduct research on new crops, it was moved to Kalutary in 1813, and thus gradually to Peredeniya. The official opening of Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens took place in 1824. They were designed and initially directed by several subsequent English managers. At this time, the gardens also performed both research and recreation function.
The ancient kings literally left their marks in the gardens, but also did some great figures from closer or further history planted trees which can be seen in a special area called Memorial Trees. The first honorary tree was planted here in 1875 by English King Edward VII. The commemoration of Ceylon regaining Independencein 1948, there is a tree planted by the first Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake. The first astronauts, Jurij Gagarin and crew members of Apollo12: Alan Bean, Richard Gordon and Charles Conrad also left here treir “lunar” marks.
In the Peradeniya gardens, on an area of 60 hectares, located in the bend of the Mahaweli Ganga River, there are over 4 000 plant species, including Sri Lanka, Asia and imported from around the world.
A pleasant walk around a lake covered with pink and purple flowers, is not only an opportunity to relax, but also to observe plants found in swampy areas.
In the gardens there are a few separate, thematic places:
- Flower Garden – different kinds of flowers arranged in colourful mosaics
- Spice Garden – seedlings of many spices: cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, nutmeg, etc
- Orchid House – in a separate building, breeding of different orchids types
Peradeniya Gardens is visited by 1.6 million people a year, including 430 thousand foreign tourists (2016).
Is it worth visiting?
Certainly, this is not a place for a tourists who constantly look at their watch and tick places on their to visit list . However, for experts on the subject, nature lovers, lovers of slow sightseeing and they who enjoy nature it is probably a perfect place.
I visited the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden on a hot January day. It was really nice to leave befind the noise of Kandy, for a few hours in the garden and enjoying nature in the company of singing birds.
Open daily: 7.30 am to 5 pm, ticket price: 1500 rupies