Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya

Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is located in close proximity to the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is renowned for the collection of a huge variety of orchids and has more than 300 varieties of orchids, spices, medicinal plants, and palm trees.  The gardens are 147 acres in size and are managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture.

The origins of the Botanic Gardens dates as far back as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and kept court at Peradeniya near Mahaweli River, followed by King Kirti Sri and King Rajadhi Rajasinghe. A temple was built on this location by King Wimala Dharma but later was destroyed by the British when they gained control over the Kandyan Kingdom. The groundwork for a Botanical Garden was laid by Alexander Moon in 1821, and work continued through 1843 with plants brought in from Kew Garden and from the gardens in Kalutara. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, was made more independent and expanded in 1844. The gardens came under the administration of the Department of Agriculture when it was established in 1912.

The Classical Avenue of Palms is located in this garden. One tree with a significant history is the Cannonball Tree, planted by King George V and Queen Mary of the United Kingdom in 1901. The tree is bent with its fruits which look like cannonballs; thus the name.

The gardens were also used during the Second World War by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the supreme commander of the allied forces in the South Asia, as the headquarters of the South East Asia Command.

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