How to Reach Peradeniya Botanical Garden
Peradeniya botanical garden is located near the city of Kandy and it is just a few minutes away from Kandy, even you can get to it by walk from Kandy. Hop on a bus or a taxi, you can easily reach it by public transport or by private transport. If you are on a tight budget and try to be sparse with expenses and use public transportation as much as possible during your Sri Lanka tour, you can add Peradeniya botanical garden to your must visited places in the island.
Peradeniya botanical garden is about 110 kilometres from Colombo and about 5 kilometres from the city of Kandy. Kandy being a hub of Sri Lankan road network the city of Kandy can be reached with ease from any part of the island. Due to the proximity of Peradeniya botanical garden to Kandy, Peradeniya botanical garden also can be reached with convenience from any part of the island. There are plenty of opportunities to reach Peradeniya through public or private transportation.
The Botanical garden is an only walking distance away from the Peradeniya railway station and all Colombo bound buses and buses heading to Kandy from Colombo make a stop at front of the garden. Having easy access to all transportation methods Peradeniya botanical garden is one of the most important tourist attractions as well as most convenient places to reach in the island. The entry tickets are available at the entrance of the botanical garden and it cost $10 Per Person. You also receive a map of the garden at the entrance, which is very handy to find places of importance within the garden.
Peradeniya botanical garden is often a part of the shortest tours and round tours, offered in Sri Lanka. Most foreign and local tourists who visit the city of Kandy is not forgetting to drop into this beautiful botanical garden. Most of them are visiting the park with intention of learning the trees and plants, but some are visiting the botanical garden to find the peaceful picnic place or lunch outing spot.
Using the garden as a green picnic place
Peradeniya botanical garden has become the most popular resting place or picnic park in the area mostly for local travellers. For many tourists, especially for the local tourists, Peradeniya botanical garden is one of the most loved outdoor gathering spots. It gives them the opportunity to learn trees and plants while enjoying the peaceful gathering. The great lawn is a popular playground among the children. But do not expect to find covered eating pavilions or gas grills here, which are part of a picnic site, after all, it is a green picnic site created within a botanical garden. Therefore no possibilities to prepare food here. The cafeteria near the great lawn provides food and drinks for visitors, but no alcohol served in the cafeteria.
Taking a binocular and appropriate guidebook related to the trees, plants and birds will be very handy in learning about tree, plants and various local bird species that you come across in the garden. Even though it is not too warm in Peradeniya like most low-land areas such as Colombo, Bentota the temperature can hit 25C during the day. Therefore light cotton dress is the best suitable attire while visiting the park. Taking plenty of fluid is also important while you walk in the park due to sweating.
You might need to have about 2-3 hours of walking to explore the botanical garden in detail. But if you cant afford to spend two hours in the park still you can cover most important parts of Peradeniya botanical garden such as palms alley, orchid house, spice corner, bamboo plants, memorial tree collection and great lawn area within 45 minutes.
One might be tempted to gather flowers and plants while walking in the botanical garden, but it is highly advisable to refrain from doing such things because it can be ended with a costly fine. No pets allowed within the botanical garden. Also, alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited withing Peradeniya botanical garden.
Peradeniya botanical garden during the Kandy kingdom
Peradeniya Botanical garden was used as the pleasure garden of the King of the Kandyan kingdom. It was King Wikramabahu who initially kept the court at Peradeniya near Mahaweli River in 1371. Garden was used as the Royal Pleasure Garden during the reign of King Kirthi Sri. A temporary residence was erected under the King Rajadhi Rajasinghe from 1780 – 1789. A temple and Dagoba were built in the reign of King Wimala Dharma which was expanded by King Rajadhi Rajasinghe. The vihara and Dagoba were destroyed by the English when they occupied Kandy. The famous historical battle of Gannoruwa between Rajasinghe 2 and Portuguese was fought on the northern side of the river.
Deforestation in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a tropical island and renders best conditions required by tropical trees and plants to grow. Year-round sunlight and high rainfall that spreads throughout the year feed the trees and plants with much-needed water. The green cover of Sri Lanka is drastically reduced during the last several decades. The forest cover that stood at 49 percent is reduced to around 23 percent by 2005, mainly due to the deforestation. Today much of the valuable forest cover is restricted to national parks, reserves, sanctuaries and garden like Peradeniya botanical garden.
Peradeniya botanical garden, Henarathgoda botanical garden, Haggala botanical garden, newly added wet-zone botanical garden Awissawella, dry-zone botanical garden Hambantota are the noteworthy botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. Out these botanical garden, Peradeniya botanical garden is the most prominent and most visited botanical garden in the island, the garden is visited by around 2 million visitors a year.
Peradeniya botanical garden during the British rule
In 1810 a Garden called Kew garden opened in Slave Island in Colombo. In 1813 the garden was moved to Kalutara for the reception of economic plants which could be cultivated there on a larger scale than was possible at Slave Island. Finally, the garden was moved to the Peradeniya in 1821 as it was found to be favourable and better adapted for the proposed Botanic establishment. The transfer of exotic from the Kalutara Garden was made by Superintends at least up to 1843.
Beginning of Royal botanical garden
In 1843 the opening of the Royal Botanical Garden Peradeniya can be said to have commenced though at first only the South West portion of the Garden was cleared and opened and it was mostly planted with cinnamon and coffee. Superintendent Moon published his Catalogue of Ceylon Plants in 1824 in which was given the Botanical and native names of 1127 plants indigenous to the island.
At initially only 40 acres of the 147 acres were in cultivation and the land was used to grow Jak, Coconut and vegetables for the Government Agent in Kandy. Later on beauty and the usefulness of the garden considerably improved under the management. In the early years garden was mainly directed towards the introduction and acclimatization of useful and ornamental plants but in later year s activities developed towards Economic botany and Agriculture.
Ther are more than 4000 species of tree and plants including herbal plants, orchids, palm trees in the Botanical garden. Today Peradeniya botanical garden is wee known around the world for its large collection of orchid species. Peradeniya botanical garden spreads over 146 hectares or 59 acres and shares its border with Mahaweli river in three directions. One can feel the Mediterranean climate within the botanical garden. The botanical garden has a Mediterranean climate mainly due to its elevation from the sea. Another reason for its mild climate condition is the nearness of Mahaweli river. Palms groove, orchid house, plants nursery, bamboo collection, flowering trees, gymnosperms and great lawn are important specimens in the garden. Peradeniya botanical garden functions as an important repository of tropical plants and trees. It has not only indigenous plants and trees a large number of foreign trees also can be found here.
Peradeniya botanical garden can be divided into below main areas
Orchin house showcases a fine collection of orchid species and some of them are very rare species. Species such as bloom of Cattleya, Dendrobium, Arachnis, Oncidium, Phalaenopsis, Vanda and their hybrids are well worthy of having look. The largest orchid of the world known as Grammatophyllum speciosum as well as many other hardy tropical orchid species can be seen here.
Fernery occupies its space next to the flower garden, which is well maintained with landscaping. paved paths to walk around. A large number of lofty trees draped with rising vines and creepers creates the environment like in a rainforest. There are about 100 species of ferns in the collection.
The great lawn is to be found near the monumental tree and plants. The great lawn is a flat area with nicely tripped grass. The highlight of the great lawn is the Java Fig Tree (Ficus benjamina ) with widely spread branches, that stands at the centre of the great lawn and looks like a giant umbrella from the distance.
This is a small man-made lake located toward the left side of the main entrance. There is a collection of a different variety of marsh plants.
A collection of spices can be seen here. spice garden is located on the right side of the entrance immediately behind it. several popular spices such as Cardamom, cinnamon, Pepper, and nutmeg can be seen here.
Demarcated with a fence and located near the orchid house. A collection of beautiful flowering plants can be seen here.
There are three avenues in the botanical garden that are flanked with different species of palms. One avenue is flanked with Cabbage Palms (Roystonia oleracea), and the second avenue flanked with Palmyrah Palms (Borassus flabellifer) and the third avenue is flanked with Royal Palm (Roystonia regia)
Plant house is located next to the orchid house and contains a variety of greenhouse plants such as begonias, Ferns, African violet, Dieffenbachia, Episcia, Philodendron, CalatheaBromelia and Anthurium.
Large collection of Bamboo trees are planted along the Mahaweli river bank, which is the border of the Botanical garden. The largest bamboo species in the world known as giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) also can be seen here. This bamboo grows up to 40 meters in height and up to 25 centimetres in diameter. Other species of bamboo available here are yellow building bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris), the feather – leaved bamboo (Dendrocalamus membranaceus), the prickly bamboo (Bambusa spinosa) and the Dwarf Chinese bamboo.
Memorial tree collection
This is one of the least known parts of the Royal botanical garden among the travellers. The history of memorial tree collection goes back to 1875 with the planting of Bo-tree (ficus religiosa) by the King Edward the 7th on his visit to Sri Lanka. Since then a large number of trees and plants were planted at the memorial tree corner by distinguished personalities from various parts of the world. Today most of these trees standing as big giants in the park. The last king of tsar royal family of Russia, Prince Nicolas had planted a Na-tree (Mesua nagasarium) here in 1891. In 1901 the king of Jorge of British also lanted a sal-tree at Peradeniya botanical garden. The most popular astronaut Yuri Gagarin had planted a flowering plant at the Botanical garden of Peradeniya in 1961 (in the same year he had been to the moon), which is still flowering today after many years.
Main functionalities of Peradeniya botanical garden
Today, the botanical garden is responsible for the management and development of Botanic Gardens, National Herbarium, Medicinal plant garden, Gardens attached to the official residencies President, Prime minister, Commonwealth war cemeteries, the sacred Bo-Tree at Anuradhapura and other Historic Trees of Sri Lanka.