Royal Botanic Garden, Peradeniya are about 5.5 km to the west of the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It attracts 2 million visitors annually. It is near the Mahaweli River (the longest in Sri Lanka). It is renowned for its collection of orchids. The garden includes more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. Attached to it is the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. The total area of the botanical garden is 147 acres (0.59 km2), at 460 meters above sea level, and with a 200-day annual rainfall. It is managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture.
The origins of the Botanic Gardens date as far back as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and kept court at Peradeniya near the Mahaweli river. This was followed by King Kirti Sri and King Rajadhi Rajasinghe. A temple was built on this location by King Wimala Dharma, but it was destroyed by the British when they were given control over the Kingdom of Kandy.
During World War II, the Botanic Garden was used by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the supreme commander of the allied forces in the South Asia, as the headquarters of the South East Asia Command.