Sri Lanka is known for the blue sapphires all around the world. We have three of the world’s largest blue sapphires including the blue belle, which is popular among the British and star of India that is displayed at the New York Museum of Natural history. Located approximately 101 km from Colombo, Ratnapura is known for its gems and is also the capital of Sabaragamuwa Province. Not only is the city is known for its gems but is also surrounded with low-country tea and rubber plantations.
Fun Things to do in Ratnapura
Ratnapura is an energetic city, famous for its trade in gems. As you walk down Gem Street it is common huge crowds are gathered, gem merchants carrying their stones and chatting to possible customers presenting their cut gems in an open air market. Travellers heading this way should not miss out the Gem Street to witness this spectacle.
The Gem Museum of Ratnapura has a vast amount of precious and semi-precious stones displayed including sapphires, rubies and amethysts. The museum also exhibits pictures related to gem methodology.
When you are in the land of gems visiting a gem mine should be top of your list. The visits do not have to be pre-booked and you can speak to a local tuk tuk driver in the town who will take you to see one of the mines where you gain firsthand experience of digging, washing the gravel containing gems.
The National Museum of Ratnapura exhibits some important ancient archaeological discoveries, objects and models linking to the area. The museum is one of the main museums in the country and is currently closed for renovation.
The Maha Saman Devalaya (also known Sumana Saman Devalaya) is shrine dedicated to deity Saman. The shrine was built back in 1270 AD during the Dambadeniya era and was destroyed by Portuguese and rebuilt again by King Rajasinghe. Saints Peter and Paul’s Cathedral, Pothugal Viharaya, St. Luke Church (Church of England) and Siva Temple are the few other known places of worship in the city.
For bamboo boat rides and trekking in the jungle Bopath Ella is a must see. The beautiful waterfall is famous among tourists and it is believed to be in the shape of a leaf of a Bo tree. The Katugas Ella, Kirindi Ella and Rajanawa Ella all are located 03-04 kms away from Ratnapura.
Few of the other getaway sites from Ratnapura and popular among tourists include Kitulgala for white water rafting, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Udawalawe National Park and of course Adam’s Peak – Ratnapura has its own entrance and they say it’s difficult than the other access paths.
If you are thinking city of gems might be your next holiday destination our property at Yoho Ayagama Road is little further away from the city making it an ideal and quiet place to stay.
Feature image courtesy Muradh Mohideen.