These famous gardens, or to give them their full name the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens Kandy, date all the way back to 1843 when they were established on the site of a former Royal Temple that the British had seen fit to demolish upon assuming control of the Kingdom of Kandy. (Well, shame about the historic temple but they did create some splendid gardens!)
Incidentally, Mountbatten used the gardens as his HQ whilst he was the supreme commander of Allied Forces in South Asia during WW2 but these days the wonderful gardens are an essential stop on any visitor’s itinerary of the charming mountain town as well as being hugely popular with local pic-nickers and courting couples during the weekends.
Situated just a few kilometres from the centre of Kandy they also make for an attractive landscaped park to wander around even if you’re not particularly interested in botany and there’s invariably things going on in the park and friendly locals to chat to as well.
Some of the gardens consist of more European-style lawns and formal flower beds whilst you’ll also find all the tropical garden standards such as orchid garden, ferns, bamboo forest, spice garden etc as well as the attached National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. One of the famous highlights is the stately Avenue of Palms planted during the 1950s though one of the most spectacular sights for us was the huge fruit bat colony scattered amongst the park’s taller trees.
An all-around fascinating spot! The Royal Botanical Gardens Kandy are included in both our Sri Lankan tour itineraries, full details of which can be found at this link. Note also that for a fascinating and extremely well-written account of the convoluted history of Sri Lanka and Kandy we strongly recommend the superb Elephant Complex by John Gimlette.