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Hakgala Botanical Garden, a renowned gem among Asia's hill country botanical gardens, enchants visitors with its breathtaking beauty and diverse array of plant life. Situated along the Nuwara Eliya-Badulla main road, approximately 16 kilometers from Nuwara Eliya, this botanical paradise boasts a cool temperate climate, thanks to its elevation of 5,400 feet above sea level. With mean annual temperatures ranging from a refreshing 16°C to 30°C, it offers a welcome escape from the heat of the lowlands.

Established in 1861 under the visionary leadership of George Henry Kendrick Thwaites, Hakgala Botanical Garden initially served as an experimental site for cultivating Cinchona, a commercially valuable crop. However, as tea emerged as the region's predominant cash crop, the garden transitioned into a hub for experimental tea cultivation. By 1884, it had blossomed into a full-fledged botanical garden, showcasing a diverse array of sub-tropical and temperate plant species from across the globe.

Hakgala's history is steeped in myth and legend, intertwining with the ancient epic of the Ramayana. Legend has it that the garden was once the mythical Ashok Vatika, the pleasure garden of the Sri Lankan demon king Ravana, who abducted Sita and kept her hidden here. To honor this legend, the site was named "Sita Eliya," and the iconic Sita Amman Temple was constructed on its hallowed grounds.

Today, Hakgala Botanical Garden boasts an impressive collection of over 10,000 species of flora, attracting nature enthusiasts and botanists alike. During Nuwara Eliya's spring season, the garden bursts into a kaleidoscope of colors as thousands of blooms adorn its landscapes, drawing over 500,000 visitors annually.

One of the garden's highlights is its extensive collection of orchids and roses, showcasing the beauty and diversity of these beloved flowers. From vibrant tropical orchids to delicate hybrid roses, the garden offers a sensory feast for visitors.

As visitors wander through Hakgala's lush pathways and manicured gardens, they are enveloped in a tranquil oasis of natural splendor. The symphony of birdsong, the rustle of leaves, and the fragrance of blooming flowers create a harmonious ambiance, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the serenity of their surroundings.

In conclusion, Hakgala Botanical Garden stands as a testament to Sri Lanka's rich botanical heritage and cultural legacy. Whether admiring its stunning blooms, exploring its historic landmarks, or simply reveling in its peaceful ambiance, a visit to Hakgala promises an unforgettable experience for all who venture into its enchanting landscapes.

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