Botanical Gardens

Apart from the natural verdure, there are several gardens and parks. The tradition of cultivating land for aesthetic purposes goes back more than 2000 years to the time of the ancient kings. The ruins at Anuradhapura and subsequent royal cities have left remnants of grounds that are among the earliest and best landscaped in Asia. The more recent parks make rewarding walks not only for the plant lover but also for the bird enthusiast. The main parks are:

Hakgala Botanic Gardens

After the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, Hakgala, 10km (6 miles) south of Nuwara Eliya, is the second most important garden in Sri Lanka. Though on a smaller scale than those at Peradeniya, Hakgala’s plantations of roses, shrubs, ferns and montage woodland are delightfully located, with scenic views.

Above the gardens, a forest trail leads into virginwoodland – the home of a troop of purple-faced leaf monkeys, a species endemic to Sri Lanka, and to endemic bird species including the Sri Lanka white-eye, Sri Lanka wood pigeon, and Sri Lanka whistling thrush.
Open daily from07:30 to 17:00.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Peradeniya

(109 km. from Colombo) The Gardens date back to the Kandyan kingdom, when they were used as royal pleasure grounds. However, it was soon after the British seized the Kandyan Kingdom that they were established in 1821. The Gardens are elegantly landscaped over 150 hectares of beautifully undulating grounds. Within this large loop of the meandering Mahaweli Ganga is a spectacular display of more than 400 species of indigenous tropical flora and exotic plants.

Henarathgoda Botanic Gardens

Henarathgoda Botanical garden is situated in close proximity to Gampaha Municipality opened in 1876. It is surrounded by beautiful paddy fields, a man-made green environment, secondary forest & a beautiful water streams. This garden carries historically link to the evolution of Sri Lankan Economy. The first imported rubber tree to Sri Lanka was first planted in this garden and it is visible there. The garden has a fairly big collection of tropical flower plants with eye-catching landscaping properly designed and many shrubs, bushes and beautiful trees could. The garden is famous destination for youngsters.

Viharamahadevi Park

This is the largest of several parks in Colombo. It is the last remnant of the cinnamon plantations that covered adjacent land, giving the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens its name. The park is a wonderful sight from March to May, when its trees burst into flower. You can see ebony, mahogany, fig, lemon and the last cinnamon trees from the plantations established over a hundred years ago. Tethered in the shade and swaying to and fro in one corner of the park may be Elephants, sometimes parked here for the night. During peraheras held at nearby temples, upto fifty or so elephants may be accomodated here for about a week.