The Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens are the largest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. They cover 60 hectares and are bounded by the Mahaweli River on three sides. The history of the Royal Botanical Gardens dates as far back as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and kept court at Peradeniya near the Mahaweli River. Later, in the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe from 1747 to 1780 this was made a Royal Garden and from 1780 – 1798 King Rajadhi Rajasinghe resided therein, where a temporary residence was erected for him. Managed by the Department of Agriculture, the garden has more than 300 varieties of Orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees.