Hakgala Botanical Garden

Hakgala Botanical Garden is situated on the main road stretch between Nuwara Eliya and Badulla, about 10 km. from Nuwara Eliya. The garden was laid in 1861 with the goal of an agronomic experiment to introduce and promote the cultivation of cinchona in Sri Lanka. Initially, the garden of Hakgala was intended for the cultivation of only plants chinchona, from the bark of which were obtained quinine, known as an excellent antipyretic. Quinine was then widely used in the treatment of malaria. Perhaps this was the reason for the popularity of the tonic in these parts — quinine was an important component of tonic water. However, after tea replaced the cinchona as the main culture of the island, the botanical garden was turned into an experimental site for growing tea. In 1884, the garden was transformed into a botanical garden, as in addition to tea, many plants were planted here from the zones of the subtropical and temperate climate.The seedlings were brought from different parts of the world. Now the garden is famous for a huge number of species of orchids and roses. The garden is located in the center of the island at an altitude of 1707 meters, at the foot of the Hakgala peak (2157m). These places were chosen in the colonial times by the British, since the local climate is very similar to Britain — in the daytime +20 +25, at night +15 +17, and very low clouds, similar to fog.

Temperatures below + 15 degrees are also not uncommon here. The lowest temperature recorded in the Hakgala area was +3°C. Gardens receive rainfall from two monsoons. South-West from May to August and North-East from October to December. The average annual precipitation is approximately 2300 mm. The best time to see the gardens is from the middle of March to the end of April. In the people this particular period of the year is known as the Nuwara Eliya season. The gardens show the best collections of plants in the temperate zones of the Earth — annual flowers, roses and orchids during this period. In Hakgala plant specimens are brought here, which are held here so-called climatic overexposure, so that they adapt to local climate conditions and can be introduced to other parts of Sri Lanka. The same experimental platform for the introduction of new varieties and plant species, but in the arid climate zone, exists also in the agro-technological park and the botanical garden in Bata Atha.
The flora of the gardens in Hakgala is distinctly subtropical and consists of representatives of native species, attached mountain flora, from specimens imported from other subtropical countries. Plants are now systematically planted in various sections of the garden. Here in the natural environment, you can see an impressive collection of ancient huge tree-like ferns. There are several mountain streams on the territory of the botanical garden, which adds additional charm to the whole area. The garden is located on several sites and terraces leading almost to the peak of the mountain.

Hakgala Botanical Garden, the area of which is about 28 hectares, just lie under the shadow of the cliff of Hakgala. In translation from Sinhala, the name of the rock stands for «rock-jawbone of an elephant». This massive rock tower is about 2,200 meters high and is located behind the botanical garden in the vicinity of the surrounding nature reserve. The rock is a single giant. Gardens from several terraces on the lower slopes of the cliff face the valley of Uva. There are magnificent views over Madulsima and the Namunukula area. From here you can see many mountains and distant landscapes.
On the territory of the botanical garden you can see many rare plants, including relict ones. Botanical Garden in Hakgala — one of the most beautiful contrasts of Sri Lanka. Next to the botanical garden is the Hakgala reserve.

Folk tales and the ancient Indian epic Ramayana describe the place of the Hakgala Botanical Garden. In folklore, a legend clearly lives, which says that the demoniac king of Sri Lanka Ravana after the abduction of Sita, kept her captive in this area. This area of Ravana offered Sita as a pleasure garden. The place is mentioned in the Ramayana as Ashok Vatika. The area near the Botanical Garden was named "Sita Eliya", and on the spot imprisonment of the divine Sita temple was built Sita Amman. Therefore, this area is not just beautiful gardens, but also a real shrine for Hindus. Hence the endless stream of pilgrims coming to the Botanical Garden and the temple. They come to see the places on which the holy feet of Sita have walked.

The city of Nuwara Eliya adjacent to Hakgala is a fount of architectural buildings made in English style and in excellent preservation, which is especially unique for South Asia. The second name of Nuwara Eliya is «Little England». Throughout the city, you can see the golf courses and gardens characteristic of England. And the surreal sunsets over The Gregory Lake in the center of Nuwara Eliya are one of the most stunningly colorful spectacles that even the most experienced travelers describe with admiration.

The contrast of this city with other Sri Lankan resorts is very bright. Tourists who come here can enjoy fine weather and have fun. There is an opportunity to visit tea plantations, go boating, play golf, make a walk on foot and bike through the most beautiful surroundings. Nature in these parts is delightful: well-groomed gardens, majestic mountains and plateaus, unspoiled lakes and beautiful waterfalls.

Excursion to Hakgala is a wonderful occasion to get acquainted with the most beautiful nature that nature has created. The trip is very recommended to you when you relax in Sri Lanka's Hill Country. Departure
for your tour early in the morning in the coolest hours. The trip and inspection takes at least 2 hours. Return from Hakgala to the hotel at noon or lunch time.

Please inform your Lankarus manager regarding your wish to visit your Hakgala while your stop at hotel in Nuwara Eliya, Ella or Haputale.

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