A must visit place in Kandy

Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is situated about 5.5 km to the west from the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka and attracts 2 million visitors annually. It is renowned for its collection of a variety of orchids. It includes more than 4000 species of plants, including of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. Attached to it is the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. The total area of the botanical garden is 147 acres, at 460 meters above sea level, and with a 200 day annual rainfall. It is managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture.

The origins of the Botanic Gardens date as far back as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and kept court at Peradeniya near Mahaweli River. This was followed by King Kirti Sri and King Rajadhi Rajasinghe. A temple was built on this location by King Wimala Dharma, but it was destroyed by the British when they were given control over the Kingdom of Kandy. Thereafter, the groundwork for a botanical garden was formed by Alexandar Moon in 1821. The Botanical Garden at Peradeniya was formally established in 1843 with plants brought from Kew Garden, Slave Island, Colombo, and the Kalutara Garden in Kalutara. The Royal Botanic Garden, Peradeniya was made more independent and expanded under George Gardner as superintendent in 1844.On his death in 1849 George Henry Kendrick Thwaites became superintendent. He served until 1879, when he was succeeded by Henry Trimen, who served until 1895. The Garden came under the administration of the Department of Agriculture when it was established in 1912.

The classical Avenue of Palms is located in this Garden. One tree with a significant history is the Cannonball Tree planted by King George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary in 1901. The tree is bent with its fruits, which look like cannonballs. During the Second World War, the Botanical Garden was used by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the supreme commander of the allied forces in the South Asia, as the headquarters of the South East Asia Command.

The boundaries of the garden are marked by the Kandy-Peradeniya road from south, and the right bank of River Mahaweli which flows like a snake around the rest of its limits covering approximately ¾ of its circumference. The entrance to the garden is on the Kandy-Peradeniya road, at close proximity to Galaha Junction. The Royal Botanic Gardens are open from 9.00 am to 5.45 pm. Tickets are issued until 5.00 pm only.

There are a number of trees planted by various Heads of State in the Memorial Section of Peradeniya Botanic Gardens, to commemorate their visits to the Island. Among them are the Crown Price Nicolai Czar of Russia (1891), Prince of Wales (21st March 1922), H. M. the King of Belgium (8th October 1925), H. R. H. Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia (17th February 1957), H. E. Marshal Joseph Tito President of Yugoslavia (22nd January 1959), H. E. Lee Kuan Yew Prime Minister of Singapore (20th February 1966), H. E. Ziaur Rahman President of Bangladesh (6th November 1979), H. E. Stjepan Mesic President of Croatia (17th November 2002), etc.

Peradeniya is a suburb of the city of Kandy, about 50,000 inhabitants in Sri Lanka. It is situated on the A1 main road, just a few kilometres west of Kandy city centre. Peradeniya is famous for the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. It is situated in a slope of the Mahaweli River and

attracts many visitors from Sri Lanka as well as from abroad. Another key attribute of this city is the University of Peradeniya which is the second oldest University in Sri Lanka. Its buildings are of mixed colonial and Indian style amongst the lush vegetation of the Sri Lankan hill country. The Department of Agriculture is also located here. West of the town lies the small town of Kadugannawa.

When coming by ordinary train from Colombo, it is best to get down at Sarasavi Uyana Railway Station. From there, it is about one kilometer to the Garden's entrance. If you take the Kandy Intercity Train from Colombo, get down at Peradeniya Junction Railway Station, and take a bus or a three-wheeler (Tuk Tuk) to the Garden's entrance because it is about 2 kilometers from there to the destination. If you don't mind walking, it is great to do so while enjoying the cool climate and the great environment of the hills

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The Royal Botanic Garden has a fine restaurant in it, where you can enjoy snacks, breakfast, lunch, soft drinks, juices and desserts. It is also possible to bring your packed meal and have it anywhere in the Garden convenient to you. Find a good grassy place near a water tap and enjoy your meal. Keep in mind to dispose all garbage in garbage-bins abundantly available in the Garden. A resting area is provided in the Garden, to the right hand side of the entrance. This area has washrooms, a drinking-water dispenser, and shady trees with garden chairs under them to sit and relax. The Royal Botanic Garden of Peradeniya is a must-visit place for anybody who comes to Kandy, Sri Lanka.

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