Sri Lanka is one of the sought after countries in Asia for its tourist attractions and standing out from these tourist attractions are the beautiful gardens, which total three at present, that are maintained in a manner that preserves their historical heritage. One of these gardens is the renowned Hakgala Gardens. The other two are Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens. Hakgalal is the second biggest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. In the days gone by the Hakgala Gardens was founded in 1861 for growing of the herbal crop Cinchona. Thereafter tea was cultivated and finally 1884 the garden was planted with subtropical and tropical plants. A legendary story behind the Hakgala Gardens in that in the Indian folktale “Ramayana” Sita the spouse of Rama was kidnapped and held captive in this area by a Demon King, who at that time reigned in Sri Lanka. The garden was a pleasure gardens given to Sita to diminish her sorrow. At this point in time the garden was named “Asoka Vatika.”
Hakgala Gardens is 16.5 km from Nuwara Eliya on the Nuwara Eliya – Badulla A5 Highway. The gardens are open daily from 8.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. However, the plant nursery closes at 3.30 p.m. Hakgala Gardens is best view by strolling through the beautiful landscape, although light vehicles are permitted to enter the premises.
Being 5,400 ft. above sea level, the Hakgala Gardens has a chilly and cool temperature and is home for around 10,000 species of plants and trees. During the Nuwara Eliya season in April, over 500,000 visitors throng the gardens to view the exotic plants, trees and blooms that adorn the area all neatly planted and tagged.
The main sections of the garden are, central pond and bulb garden, lower flower garden, rose garden, glass house, upper flower garden, greenery, rock garden and arboretum.