Ashok Vatika better was known as Haggala Botanical Garden Sri Lanka
Haggala botanical garden is the most enchanting garden in the island of Sri Lanka and it is a must visited places during your Sri Lanka tour. If you visit this beautiful garden, you will understand that I am not exaggerating! A visit to Haggala botanical garden turns out to be more than beautiful flowers and plants. Most Hindu travellers coming from India do not fail to explore the Haggala botanical garden. Haggala is not just another botanical garden for Hindus and it has a religious and historical importance. Hagala botanical garden was named as the Ashok Vatika in Ramayana written by valmiki and included in most Sri Lank road trips organized for travellers coming from India.
Haggala garden is beautifully landscaped using the natural levels of the mountainous terrain and there are beautifully shaped plots for different types of flowering plants and trees. Ferns and many other huge trees fill the view above, while beautiful flowers such as roses and dahlia with various types of croton add the beauty to the undergrowth. Unlike other two botanical gardens in Sri Lanka Haggala is popular for its flowering plants and it is the most striking feature of this beautiful garden.
The beginning of Haggala garden is going back to the early 1800’s. As Sri Lanka was under the British administration, they have used gardens as a testing ground for cinchona cultivation. Later it was developed to a beautiful garden with the introduction of many species of tropical plants and trees. Haggala has the highest elevated position among all botanical gardens in Sri Lanka and it is located on the southern slope of the central mountain range commanding an awe-inspiring view over the low lying area.
Being a botanical garden, located about 1800 meters above sea level; it has a unique climate with very low temperature. The climate here shows some similarities to the cloud forest conditions. The garden is engulfed by mist often especially in the evening and early morning. It has very similar climate to Nuwara Eliya and I feels like it rains here more often than in other parts of the mountains. It had been raining very often in the garden as we were there, each occasion only a couple of minutes then follow a brief period of dry weather. It is highly recommended to carry an umbrella or raincoat if you visit the garden.
One side of Haggala botanical gardens is flanked by a forest reserve. An overwhelming number of fern trees is a striking feature of the gardens. The garden is full of captivating beautiful flowers at any given time of the year and it is one of the main reasons for its popularity among the travellers.
Haggala botanical garden is one of the most popular natural tourist attractions not only in the mountains but also in the whole country. It is conveniently located bordering the Nuwara Eliya- Wellawaya main road and it is just 30 minutes drive from Nuwara Eliya. Therefore it attracts a large number of travellers, who spend their holidays in the resorts such as Nuwara Eliya, Diyatalawa and Bandarawela.
Haggala is a very popular picnic spot among the local travellers and it is a very suitable place to relax and even to have a meal. If you wondering, where to buy the beautiful flowering plants of Haggala, just head on to the Shops and stalls flanked along the main road opposite the gardens, they have an interesting collection of flowering plants and trees found in the garden. Toys, clothes, food and drinks, vegetable and fruits are also sold in several shops here.