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Ratnapura - Sri Lanka's City of Gems and Waterfalls

Duration: Half Day

ratnapura - sri lanka's city of gems and waterfalls

Located in the Indian Ocean, off the south-eastern tip of India, the beautiful tropical island of Sri Lanka (also called Ceyclon) is famously known as the “Island of Gems” due to its long history of gem-mining and trading, dating back over 2,000 years. This fascinating tour will introduce you to the natural treasures of Ratnapura, where you find precious gems, beautiful scenery and spectacular wildlife on a journey to remember.

Your tour will begin with a leisurely drive southeast of Colombo to the bustling market town of Ratnapura, Sri Lanka’s famous gem mining centre. Literally meaning “City of Gems” ("ratna" meaning gems and "pura" meaning city), Ratnapura has the greatest concentration of gems in the world. These precious stones include familiar and exotic gems such as rubies, chrysoberyl, aquamarines, alexandrite, topaz, moonstone, spinel, amethyst, tourmaline, and zircon. The most famous island gems are sapphires, which come in a variety of colours  such as Ceylon Blue, Pushparaga (yellow), Padparadscha (orange-pink), green, orange, pink, purple and white.

Ratnapura is also a popular eco tourism destination, drawing nature lovers to its lush landscapes and spectacular flora and flora. Nature trails, hiking, cycling, bird watching, and wildlife safaris are just the activities that visitors can enjoy here. The Ratnapura district boasts of a large number of waterfalls, some of which we will visit on this trip. Set amongst tea plantations, rivers and mountainous flora and fauna, the natural beauty is breathtaking.

The nearby Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve is Sri Lanka’s largest rainforest and one of the best places on the island for wildlife spotting. It is considered one of the most biologically diversified natural rainforests in the world, and was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989. This beautiful reserve hosts 95% of Sri Lanka’s endemic bird species, whilst hundreds of mammal, butterflies, insects, reptiles and rare amphibians can also be spotted here.

If you are visiting Ratapura in August, you can enjoy one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful, vibrant and oldest events – the annual Perahara of Saman Devalaya. Similar to the Kandy Perahera, this traditional, two-week festival takes place at Ratnapura Saman Devalaya, one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred shrines dedicated to God Sumana Saman Deviyo.

Elephants are the main focus of Sri Lankan religious festivals as they are considered divine animals in Buddhism and Hinduism. Watch these ornately decorated gentle giants leading the procession as hundreds of dancers, drummers, musicians and Devala officials follow. This is an unforgettable experience not to be missed if you are taking a holiday in Sri Lanka at this time.

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