Royal Botanical Garden
Once, over a hundred years ago, the 60 hectares of land that today forms the Royal Botanical Garden was reserved for the exclusive use of Sri Lanka’s ancient Kandyan royalty. Today, it is the largest botanical gardens in the country and is open to all members of the public. The area once featured a temple that had been built by King Wimala Dharma, but this was destroyed by the British when they took control of the Kingdom of Kandy. The botanical garden was formally established in 1843 with plants from all over Sri Lanka, as well as from Kew Gardens in England.
Situated in the western Kandyan suburb of Peradeniya, the Royal Botanical Garden welcomes approximately two million visitors every year and is particularly known for its collection of orchids. There are more than 4000 species of plants that are housed within it, including spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. The garden also features the Cannonball Tree, which was planted in 1901 by King George V and Queen Mary, and often bears fruit that are thought to resemble cannonballs. A Burma bamboo tree within the garden rises to a height of around 40 metres, while a giant Javan fig tree on the great lawn provides shade with its large canopy of branches. Thousands of fruit bats wing through the air in the evenings, and visitors can often catch a glimpse of large groups of monkeys swinging about.