The Hakgala gardens were established for the cultivation of the medicinal crop Cinchona and afterward, it was used for Tea cultivation. In 1884 it was changed into a garden with many subtropical and tropical plants. The legendary Indian folktale ‘Ramayana’ states that Sita, the wife of Rama, was abducted and imprisoned in this area by the Demon King Ravana who ruled Sri Lanka. The Hakgala garden was supposed to have been a pleasure garden gifted to Sita by the Demon King in an attempt to lessen her sorrow. At the time it is supposed to have been called Ashok Vatika. Almost as if to prove the legend a reality, the surrounding area known as Sita Eliya with a Goddess Sita Temple on the site.