Hakgala Botanical Gardens

Hidden in a peaceful corner of Sri Lanka lies a treasure trove of horticultural excellence. The Hakgala Botanical Gardens is only one of five botanical gardens and is the second largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka covering a vast area of 28 hectares. Located a few kilometers away from Nuwara Eliya and nestled 1745 metres high in the Sri Lankan hill country, the botanical gardens is blessed with perfect weather for cultivation of various species of flora and is also home to unique fauna as well.

Delve deep into the diverse splendour the gardens have to offer with the unique species showcased at the spice gardens, rose gardens, rock garden and many other cultivations that will surely make you awe at the very sight of it.

Best Known For

Nature and Outdoors:

  • The existence of a diverse range of horticulture, along with the cultivation of other plants, makes it a haven for the nature lover.
  • The spice garden boasts a fine selection including cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Some of the oldest nutmeg trees planted in the year 1840 still in fine fettle.
  • The rose garden located on a twin terraced block of land is home to some 100 varieties of roses.
  • It is home to the world’s largest orchid in the world (Grammatophyllum speciosum) which produces a flower spike up to 2.5 m long and is delicately preserved at the orchid house.
  • Other cultivations such as the fernery, the rock garden, the arboretum, the bulb garden, the cactus house and the flower garden are also notable features that have obtained critical acclaim.

Interesting Facts

  • The botanical gardens were initially established in 1861 as an experimental Cinchona plantation site due to the plant’s anti - malarial properties.
  • However, it was eventually converted for tea cultivation, since tea was an important cash crop at the time.
  • It was transformed into a botanical garden in 1884 since its temperate climate became ideal for the cultivation of various other flora as well.
  • The garden is shrouded in interesting folklore.
  • According to the epic ‘Ramayana’ (a piece of literature that chronicles the feud between two kings of India and Sri Lanka), Ravana (the king of Sri Lanka) imprisoned Rama’s (the king of India) wife in the garden called ‘Ashok Vatika’, believed to be the botanical gardens.
  • The Hakgala garden was supposed to have also been a pleasure garden gifted to Sita by the Demon King, in an attempt to lessen her sorrow.
  • Almost as if to prove the legend a reality, the surrounding area is known as Sita Eliya with the Goddess Sita Temple on the site.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The botanical gardens are opened throughout the year, however, it is best experienced from mid-March to end of April when the flowers are in full bloom and the weather is perfect.
  • The gardens are open from 8.00am - 5.30pm and will cost adults LKR 1,500, LKR 1,000 for university students and LKR 750 for children. The plant nursery, however, closes at 3.00pm.
  • The botanical gardens is situated in the Hakgala strict nature reserve, which operates under strong rules and regulations about waste disposal. Just make sure you bring only your essentials that do not harm the gardens.

In conclusion, the Hakgala Botanical Gardens is a testament to how majestic and beautiful Mother Nature can be, even in the face of a fast changing urban world.

Title image by: Jehan Gamalathge


March - April


LKR 1,500
University Students
LKR 1,000
LKR 750


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