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Take one step from the door of the Mango House Villa and you are entering the rich landscape of Sri Lanka, which offers you a breathtaking choice of wonderful holiday experiences.

Mango House has four double bedrooms all with hand carved mahogany four poster beds and ensuite wet rooms Mango House has four double bedrooms all with hand carved mahogany four poster beds and ensuite wet rooms Enjoy panoramic views over the Peelagoda temple from our terraces The golden sands of Unawatuna, voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by the Discovery Channel and Mark Ellingham, founder of 'Rough Guides'.Enjoy panoramic views over the Ganahena temple from our terraces

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Botanical Gardens Print

The Dutch introduced the first botanic gardens, which were located at Slave Island, Colombo, in order to cultivate European fruits and vegetables fulfil a cultural dietary imperative. However, the tropical lowlands of the island the Dutch held were not suitable for the fulfilment of such a cultural dietary imperative, so after the British took control in 1796, the gardens were abandoned. Frederick North, the first governor of Ceylon, set up his own private garden fruit and vegetable garden at Peliyagoda, supervised by Joseph Joinville, who was the Clerk for Natural History and Agriculture. And until he left in 1804, General MacDowell, the senior military officer, imported plants from the East India Company's botanical garden at Calcutta. But these efforts were modest in extent.

Map show location of Sri Lanka's botanical gardensIn 1810, Sir Joseph Banks, the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, advanced his suggestion to the British government for the establishment of a Royal Botanic garden and Minor gardens in Ceylon. Banks argued that a botanic garden was essential for a multitude of political and scientific reasons, including the necessity to bolster British prestige among the practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine. As a result, the first English botanic garden was opened in the island, once again at Slave Island, on August 11, 1812. However, the very next year the gardens were flooded and then transferred to Kalutara, where 600 acres of sugar estate were specially converted. In the months following the British accession to power in the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815, the military opened up a garden in the highlands and began to report heartening horticultural results.

In 1821, just six years after the fall of Kandy, the Royal Botanic Gardens found their final home when they were transferred to a site at Peradeniya. In 1860, a site beneath the Hakgala rock, near Nuwara Eliya, was chosen for the Hakgala Botanic Gardens, established specifically to nurture and reproduce cinchona (cultivated for quinine), which bridged the changeover from coffee to tea in the island's plantation industry. The site for a third botanic garden - Henaratgoda - was chosen near Gampaha in 1876 for the cultivation of the first of millions of rubber trees to be grown in Asia. These three gardens are remarkable because all have been involved in the great inter-tropical exchange of flora that took place due to colonial expansionism during the 19th century.

Hot Travel News

The Sunday Times Travel

Last One in's a... Beach bum? Culture vulture? Intrepid adventurer? On Sri Lanka’s south coast, you can be all three. By Jeremy Lazell published on Sunday 21st September 2008 in The Sunday Times travel guide.


Rough GuidesMark Ellingham, founder of Rough Guides votes Unawatuna the best tropical beach for The Guardian Travel Edition on Saturday May 24 2008