These grounds were originally laid out as pleasure gardens for the Kandyan royalty in 1371. But after the British dethroned the last Kandyan king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1815, the royal park was turned into botanical gardens in 1821.
A useful map at the entrance helps visitors explore some of the 60 ha of foreign and endemic plants and trees. The most notable among these are the giant bamboo, Palmyra Palms and Tailpot palms. Near the entrance is the Orchid House, which displays over 300 varieties. Close by, the spice garden teems with a wealth of plants such as cloves, cinnamon vanilla and nutmeg. A short walk to the north lies the fernery.
Lined with exotic varieties of trees, the attractive avenues make for a pleasant stroll. West of the entrance is Cook’s Pine Avenue, which is bordered by twisted Cook’s pines. Running town the center, Royal Palms Avenue is one of the most impressive. Another road of note is the double Coconut Avenue near the entrance, which is fringed by stumpy coco de mer trees. West of the royal Palms Avenue lies the great Lawn, with a gargantuan Javan fig tree in the middle. The cool shade of the tree’s sprawling branches are draw for picnickers and casual visitors. Just north is the Grand Circle where memorial trees planted by various international figures can be seen. more