Hakgala Botanical Gardens

Hakgala Botanical Garden was established in 1861 to promote Cinchona cultivation in Sri Lanka. The garden with 28 hectares lies in the hill country along the Badulla road, 9.5 km South-East of Nuwara Eliya at an elevation of above 1745 m above sea level.

The garden lies under the shadow of the Hakgala rock (meaning “Elephant’s Jaw Rock”). This massive rock towers to a height of about 2200 m behind the garden and surround reserve like a solitary giant. It take shape of several terraces upon the lower slopes of the rock and faces the Uva Valley. Madulsima and Namunukula mountain range provides a magnificent view in the distant landscape.

The cool and fresh air around the garden gives a feeling of subtropical alpine atmosphere. The temperature ranges from 3-15oC. The gardens receive rainfall from two monsoons.

  1. The South-West monsoon from May to August
  2. The North-East monsoon from October to December

Both monsoons give an annual rainfall of about 2300 mm to the garden. During the South-West monsoon, guest of strong winds blows across the gardens towards Uva valley. And during North-East monsoon, thick mist envelope the garden with heavy downpours of rainfall. It happens frequently in the afternoon and evening. The best time to see the garden is The-Nuwara-Eliya-Season in April. The garden put up their best display of temperate annual flowers, Roses and Foliage during this period.

The flora of the gardens is distinctly subtropical. It consists of a representative of the indigenous, montane flora intermingled with those introduced from other sub-tropical countries.

The map of Hakgala Botanical Gardens

Hakgala Botanical Gardens map
  1. Main border and Main Drive
    • A well maintained mixed flower border adjoining a lawn is seen on the left-hand side immediately inside the Main Entrance. A fine hedge formed of the Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) of Califonia is seen opposition the flower border. Two giant specimens of silver-leaved New South wales turpentine tree (Syncarpia glomulifera) from Australia are seen planted beyond the cypress hedge. Several kinds of Azalea (Rhododendron indicum) and the common Camellia (Camellia japonica) are notable tall shrubs visible on the grassy slope behind the main border. Fine-leaved large shrubs of the bottle brush. (Callistemon lanceolatus) are seen scattered along the flower border.
  2. Central Pond and Bulb Garden
    • A footpath commences from the main drive leads to the central pond in which yellow water lilies are grown. Magnificent trees of Bunya Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwilli), Eugenia cunninghamii and Mihiriya, a native tree of Sri Lanka, (Gordonia axillaris) are found planted around the central pond.
    • The foot path on the left hand side leads to the bulb garden which was opened in 1924. It contains a collection of Lilium, Watsonia, Gladiolus, Agapanthus and Zephyranthes, many of them have been introduced from Holland and Japan.
  3. Lower Flower Garden
    • The flower garden displays many annual flowers adding beauty to the gardens, the flame bush, (Streptosolen jamesoni) Cestrum elegans, Poinsetia pulcherrima and many kinds of fuchcia their drooping clusters of pretty flowers are found along the herbaceous border. Interesting trees around the flower garden are the camphor tree.
    • (Cinnamomum camphora) from China. The Queensland box tree, (Tristania conferata) from Australia, the Japanese silkworm Oak tree, (Quercus serrata) from Japan, the southern Magnolia, (Magnolia grandiflora) from Florida, Madanakama, a scented-flowered, medicinal plant, (Michelia fuscata) from china and the clump forming Senegal Data Palm, (Phoenix reclinata). Visitors should not miss the indigenous Rhododendron or Maharath Mal, (Rhododendron arboreum ssp zeylanicum) with scarlet bloom. A summer house constructed in 1910 as a memorial to Mr. J.K. Nock, a pioneer curator of the gardens, is seen below the flower garden.
  4. Rose Garden
    • The Botanic Gardens are locally reputed for their collection, the rose garden, established on a twin terraced piece of land, contains modern rose varieties imported from England and America. A herbaceous border is seen behind the rose garden.
  5. Glass House
    • A newly established glass house serving a repository for indoor plants stands along-side the exit drive. This displays blooming specimens of Begonias, Peperomias, Afican violet. Primula, Gloxinia, Streptocarpus, Pelargonium and specimens of many kinds of cacti and succulents.
  6. Upper Flower Garden
    • The upper flower garden also displays annual flowers and it includes a herbaceous and a mini rose collection.A Montezume pine (Pinus montezumae) from Mexico and Hoope pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) from New South Wales lie on either sides of the flower garden.A row of Jacaranda trees, (Jacaranda ovalifolia) with mauve flowers, is seen below. A giant Monterey cypress tree and Japanese cedar trees, (Cryptomeria japonica) grow around the flower garden. A dark green and deeply cut-leave creeper, the Dada Kehel (Rhaphidophora decursiva) is visible growing on a wanasapu tree, (Michelia nilagirica).

Open Hours

Opening Hours 7.30 AM – 6.00 PM
Ticketing Hours 7.30 AM – 5.00 pm
Open 365 days

Entrance Fee for Overseas Tourist

Adult & child (elder than 12)Rs. 2000/-
Child (younger than 12)Rs. 1000/-
School & University Student (Must have proof)Rs. 1200/-

Come and explore the spectacular plant life of Sri Lanka

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