Hakgala Botanical Garden
Located about 10 to 16km from Nuwara Eliya is the Hakgala Botanical Garden, one of five botanical gardens in Sri Lanka and the second largest garden in the country over all. It once spanned over 500 acres, but currently encompasses about 88 acres. It’s adjacent to the Hakgala Strict Nature Reserve, making it a hotspot for various flora and fauna.
Established in 2862 by George Henry Kendrick Thwaites, the Hakgala Botanical Garden was once an experimental cultivation of the medicinal plant Cinchona. Once tea took precedence in Sri Lanka, this was replaced with tea cultivation. But it didn’t seem to work out, and in the end, in 1884, it was transformed into a garden instead. Interestingly, the oldest tea bush in Sri Lanka is said to reside within the garden’s premises.
Today, the garden is home to temperate and subtropical plant species of all kinds, consisting of over 10,000 unique species—many of which are vibrant blooms. Due to its altitude being about 5,400 ft above sea level, the temperatures tend to get a bit chilly all year round, with it dropping to about 16°C during its coldest period (December to February), with the warmest period being April to August, when the temperature reaches about 30°C.
The Hakgala Botanical Garden is open to visitors from 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. every day. Whether you’re visiting with the family, looking for a romantic hangout with your partner, or just out to rest your mind on your own, the garden is sure to welcome all with its pleasant and inviting setting that is akin to the traditional English garden meets the wilderness.