Friday, March 26, 2010

The Road to Peradeniya's Ancient Botanical Garden, Sri Lanka

SIX Kilometers from Kandy is a botanical garden that dates back from 1371. This was commissioned by King Wickramabahu III.

I couldn't leave Kandy without seeing this garden, so instead of hiring a tuktuk that would have cost me 700 rupees, I took the local bus (bus no. 654) from the Clock Tower Bus Terminal. Amidst a sea of friendly black faces, I stood in a very congested bus, paying only 15 rupees to get there. Everyone was taking care of me: the driver, the conductor and a passenger who would continually reassure me that this next stop so-and-so would be my stop. Such charming people.

The entrance is a bit too much - 600 rupees for foreigners and 30 rupees for locals. What stark difference! These people must think that money grows on trees in tourist la-la land!

My favorite places: the Cannonball Tree, with "fruits" hanging by its trunk, looking like, you guessed it - cannonballs! I also love the suspension bridge although it's a wonder why they wouldn't allow people walking on it, it's sealed off! The orchidarium is almost non-existent, and the fernery could be improved further. There were perky lovers all over the park, and elsewhere, you see locals bathing by Mahaweli River.

It took me close to 2 hours to roam the park, my skin was toast from the harsh sun. I waited just outside the entrance gate for my bus back to Kandy. It was even cheaper at 12 rupees.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Stately Palm Avenue. Photos here and above only courtesy of wikipedia's Bernard Gagnon.

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