Ratnapura is located 101 km away from Colombo in the Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka.
Ratnapura can be reached by Colombo-Panadura (A2) & then by Panadura-Ratnapura (A8) main motor roads. Ratnaura isn't connected by railway line.
Ratnapura as a transportation base
Ratnapura is a convenient base to visit Sinharaja tropical rain forest, Uda Walawe National Park and Adam's Peak.
The setting of Ratnapura
Ratnapura district is a valley with rich soil nestling between Adam's Peak and Peak Wilderness Sanctuary to the north and Sinharaja Rain Forest to the south.
The town surrounded by paddy fields, tea estates, rubber plantaions vegetable and fruit gardens is sheltered by woods with all shades of green. The rural scenery provides ideal tracks for hiking and cycling.
Ratnapura, the city of gems
Ratnapura is the world renowned trading center of Gems in Sri Lanka. The name Ratnapura itself means "city of gems" in Sinhala. Traditional gem pits of Ratnapura unearth a range of gems in the ancient methods. Rubies, Sapphires, Cat's-eye, Alexandrite, Emeralds, Aquamarine, and Zircon are found in the gem pits.
Excursions to Traditional Gem pits
A multitude of Gem pits where, a variety of gems are unearthed in the same location are open to visitors too. Several Gem museums display and sell gems unearthed at Ratnapura. Ratnapura Gem Bureau, Museum and Laboratory is reputable place for purchase of gems.
The gem merchants gather at Saviya St northeast of Ratnapura clock tower to buy and sell gems found in the district. The village of Nivitigala, 40 minute drive from the town hosts the largest gem selling gathering on daily basis except on full moon days.
Maha Saman Devale Shrine
Maha Saman Devale Shrine built in the thirteenth century was burnt down by the Portuguese in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 17th century. Located 3km west of the town, the shrine is dedicated to God Saman, the guardian deity of Adam's Peak. The major festival of the shrine is perahera pageant held in July/August.
Ratnapura is the provincial capital of Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka and the Ratnapura District in which the town is situated. Located some 101 km south east of Colombo, it is the centre of a long-established industry of precious stone mining including rubies, sapphires, and other gems. Apart from gem mining, the town is known for rice and fruit cultivations. Large plantations of tea and rubber surround the town. Tea grown in this region is called low-country tea. There is a well-established tourism industry in Ratnapura. Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Udawalawe National Park, Kitulgala, and Sri pada are especially popular among tourists.
Most of the large-scale gem businessmen of Sri Lanka operate from Ratnapura. The Rattnapura town depends on the gem trade. The town's agricultural industry is also well developed. Large plantations of tea and rubber surround the town. Although rice fields also used to be a common sight around the town, rice cultivation presently faces an uncertain future in Ratnapura because many farmers are giving up their rice cultivation and switching to gem mining which is a more productive way of earning money.
Special places in Rattnapura:* The mountain Sri Pada -Adam's Peak(Buddhist/Hindu/Islam)
The Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka contains two main cities called Ratnapura and Kegalle. At an elevation of approximately 500 feet above sea level, Ratnapura is the provincial capital of Sabargamuwa. It is 60 miles (100 km) from the main coastal city of Colombo. Province of Sabaragamuwa The gem-mining centre of Sri Lanka is also a major crossroad between southern plains and the hill country to the east.
In Sabaragamuwa province there is a route to Sri Pada from Ratnapura direction. Excursions include Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Udawalawe National Park. The route towards hill country is beautiful. The surrounding area is a popular trekking destination and a good place for bird watching.