Lying in the valleys between the world renowned Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Adam’s Peak, this ‘city of gems’, Rathnapura Sri Lanka, boasts a wealth of ancient gems and precious stones. Rathnapura weather is generally wet and fairly humid, giving rise to the ideal climatic conditions for the formation of these beauteous treasures.
Ratnapura Sri Lanka is covered with a wonderful combination of paddy fields in the lowland valleys and rubber and tea plantations on the hillside. The warm, friendly nature of the hospitable locals will make you feel right at home.
Things To Do
Most activities in Ratnapura revolve around gems and a visit to the Ratnapura Gem Market convened on most mornings in Nivithigala is an unparalleled experience. Simply astounding to see so many gems in one single place!
To make the best of your stay in the city of gems, you could follow a short course in Gemology conducted at the Rahtna Gems Halt, which even includes excursions to the Rathnapura Gem Market and various gem mines in the area.
Hiking too is considered one of the popular things to do in Ratnapura and one of the oldest routes up Adam’s Peak commences in this area.
In the city of Rathnapura, gems are still unearthed by the use of tried and tested ancient mining methods and is an interesting sight to watch, if not even participate.
The National Museum displays the remains of various species of animals, interestingly discovered in gem pits. The Rathnapura Gem Bureau, Museum and Laboratory featuring a vast collection of local gems and minerals as well as a wealth of information on mining and polishing.
The Maha Saman Devale, an architectural masterpiece constructed in the 13th century in Kandyan style is a sanctuary dedicated to Saman with secondary shrines in honour of Buddha and Pattini.
Rathnapura is also an ideal base for those interested in going on a trek to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.