which can be literally translated as 'The City of Gems' is located at the
foot of Sri Pada or Adam's Peak. It is known for gem mining and natural
beauty. You can shop for precious gems or visit deep mines. If you prefer
natural beauty, Ratnapura would offer a string of waterfalls and lush
forests. Sri Pada, Uda Walawe National Park and Sinharaja Forest are places
where one can witness nature in full glory. All three spots give shelter to
diversified wildlife. You will undoubtedly enjoy refreshing and tranquil
Gems of Ratnapura
They say that King Solomon purchased a wonderful ruby for the queen of
Sheba from Ceylon (former name of Sri Lanka). Marco Polo (1293 AD) wrote
about a rybt at Anuradhapura..."a flawless ruby a span long and quite
as thick as a man's fist". Land of Sri Lanka has produced three largest
blue sapphires of the world, including the 'Blue Bell' which bedecks the
British crown and the 'Star of India', displayed at the New York Museum of
While visiting Ratnapura museums or many of the workshops, you will get to
see an array of precious stones like rubies, sapphires, topaz, garnets, etc.
The city hosts several private gem museums and gem cutting centres which
also operate as sales outlets. Eheleopola is a folk cultural museum.
Several waterfalls can be visited on excursions from Ratnapura. Bopath
Ella is easily accessible by vehicles. It is 30m high and the shape is
similar to Bo leaf. Although you can bath in the waterfall, you should keep
in mind that flash flood can occur at any time. Katugas Ella is 3km away
from Ratnapura . Kirindi Ella is seventh highest waterfall in Sri Lanka,
located 4km from Ratnapura. Rajanawa is located in Marapana village of
Ratnapura. The place is known for its scenic beauty and some famous Sinhala
films have made use of its picturesque locations.
One can visit several gem mines in the region. Most of them are located in
paddy fields on lower ground. These mines have been dug from 10m to 50m.
Ratnpura has several places of worship most of which are related to
Buddhism. Thre more popular among these are:
Maha Saman Devala
Maha Saman Devala, an important shrine for Buddhists, is devoted to God
Saman a Buddhist deity who is regarded the guardian of Ratnapura. The temple
which stands here was rebuilt after the Kandyan kingdom recaptured Ratnapura
from the Portuguese. Before the conquest of the Portuguese an ancient temple
stood here which was destroyed by the Portuguese.
Legend holds that Diha Guhawa is the place where Lord Buddha had rested
after marking his footprints at Sri Pada (Adam's Peak). The cave can shelter
more than 500 people at once.
Peter-Paul Church is an important centre of Christian faith. It is said to
be inspired by Joseph Vaz the Apostle of Ceylon during the 17th century when
he came to Ratnapura as a part of his apostolic mission to Sabaragamuwa.
Walawe National Park
Uda Walawe National Park, 70km from the town, is mainly comprised of
grasslands and thorn scrubs punctuated by trees. The park is known for
providing shelter to elephants, various species of deer, monkeys, jackal,
water buffalo and wild boar. Plenty of avifauna can also be witnessed in the
Sri Pada is the centre of faith for the people of all religions in the
country. The summit is known for the huge footprints now said to be covered
by a rock. Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims, all link these footprints to their
religion. This most popular trekking route in Sri Lanka is also known for
its picturesque beauty and adventure. Ideal season for climbing is December
to April. ..
Sinharaja which literally tanslates as 'Lion King' in the Sinhala language
is the last remaining tropical lowland rainforest of the country. Several
rare variety of trees grow. The forest hosts lot of endemic wildlife,
particularly birds as well as mammals, insects, reptiles, rare amphibians
and butterflies. The forest is a living heritage. Its eco value has made
Sinharaja Forest a popular tourist destination. The forest is also a place
for research for eco scientists.
Ratnapura is the beginning point for the 'Classic' Hard route up Adam's
Peak, via Gilimale and Carney estate. One more popular route is via
Dalhousie in neighborhood of Dickoya.
How To Reach
Kithulgala is about 100Km from Colombo on the main route to Nuwara Eliya
via Hatton. Number of public buses come to Kuthulgala from various