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Sri Lanka

Ratnapura

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Ratnapura TravelRatnapura 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 atmosphere.

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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 Natural History.

Museums
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.

Waterfalls
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.

Gem Mines
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.

Religious Places
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.

Diha Guhava
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
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.

Excursions
Ratnapura TourUda 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 park.

Sri Pada
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 Forest
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.

Trekking
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 destinations.


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