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Hakgala Botanical Gardens

The second largest botanical garden out of five in Sri Lanka, Hakgala Botanical Gardens is a picturesque destination to visit and unwind in.

In addition to being renowned for its array of lustrous orchids and roses, it boasts of being home to over 10,000 species of flora, whose blooms render the garden mesmerising and exquisitely colourful throughout most of the year.  However, the best period to visit the garden is from April to July.

At an elevation of 5 400 feet, accompanying a revitalising and cool climate, the gardens enhances the soothing feelings evoked by the magnificent landscaping.  Originally established in 1861 by the British Botanist and Entomologist George Henry Kendrick Thwaites as an experimental cultivation for Cinchona (source for quinine), a commercial crop at the time, it was subsequently replaced with tea.  Hakgala was transformed into a garden in 1884 and many continental and sub-tropical flora have been planted and have flourished ever since!

Adding to its alluring charm is the folklore surrounding the region. Hakgala is cited in one of India’s most eminent narratives, the Ramayanaya.  As the legend reveals, King Ravana abducted Sita from Dandaka forest where she was in exile with her husband Rama and brought her to Ashok Vatika (Hakgala gardens) where she was hidden and offered the area as a garden of pleasure.  The area was consequently named Sita Eliya.  The colourfully beautiful ‘Sita Amman Temple’ built on the site is only a short distance away from the gardens.

Title image by: Jehan Gamalathge

Type

Nature and Outdoors

Social and Relaxation

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