Ratnapura is a renowned city in Sri Lanka. Being the capital of both, Ratnapura District and Sabaragamuwa Province, it plays a crucial role as a traditional center for the growth of the gem industry of Sri Lanka and is also a major attraction because the various things to do in Ratnapura attracts tourists. It is also spelt as Rathnapura and is ensconced on the Kalu Ganga region in the Southern part of the country, about some 101 km in the southeast direction of the Colombo which is the capital of Sri Lanka. Buddhist monks arrived at this place a long time ago and influenced the culture of the place with their own teachings.
Known proudly as the “City of Gems”, Ratnapura is famous as enjoying a hot spot in this prominent industry of precious stone mining such as different types of sapphires, rubies etc. The city is well-known for cultivating rice, fruit and low-country tea. The low-country is a special tea which is cultivated in the large plantation areas which surround the whole city. The city is also well known for its jaggery palm tree candy.
The city can be reached through the famous highway A4 that links Colombo to Kalmunai which is situated in the east side. The A8 Highway also links the town to Panadura that comes along the west side of Sri Lanka. Ratnapura is a traditional place which mesmerizes its tourists with its natural beauty and noteworthy collection of elegant pieces of gems. There are many spectacular things to do in Ratnapura.
7 Best Things To Do In Ratnapura
Ratnapura is popular for its eternal beauty and is situated at the heart of the country. There are a plethora of things to do in Ratnapura so let’s get started and have a peek on them.
- Adam’s Peak
- Gemmological Museum
- Maha Saman Devalaya
- Katugas Ella Waterfalls
- Sri Sankapala Raja Maha Viharaya
- Gem Mines
1. Adams Peak
The peak is situated 2243 meters high from Ratnapura city. It is considered to be a holy mountain by 4 religions namely, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, and Islam. Sri Pada or the sacred footprint name is given by the Buddhists. Hindus believe its Lord Shivas footprint while Muslims consider that it is the place where Adam had put his foot on this divine Earth after coming to Earth from heaven. The Catholic people believe that the peak belongs to St. Thomas who at some time has preached in some region in South India.
Ratnapura is the beginning point for the adventurous trek route up Adams Peak, through Gilimale and Carney estate and is a typical trek area where people can enjoy an amazing trekking experience and is considered as one of the best things to do in Ratnapura.
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Among other things to do around Ratnapura, visiting noteworthy has some noteworthy points of interest for nature lovers. It is a nature preserve which includes a variety of flora, fauna and wild animals and birds. It is a lovely area located at a given height of 205 meters from Sabaragamuwa. The government here has taken all the appropriate measures to preserve the natural beauty of the place to make it the perfect places for the tourists to visit. If you are planning a road trip or a peaceful picnic with your family or your friends, the lush green hilly area of Kiribathgala is one of the spectacular locality to plan one. If you plan to relax on the tour and enjoy the greenery and natural beauty of the route then you can easily rent a taxi from Pelmadulla to Kiribathgala. Oomph your visit at Kiribathgala by visiting the nearby Peak Wilderness Sanctuary to spend some of your quality time with local wild creatures and discover plentiful rewards that nature has to offer.
3. Gemmological Museum
Developed by a local gemologist, this museum capsulizes an impressive exotic collection of various natural stones (gemstones, fossils, and artefacts) and is a nice place to explore more about mining gems in Ratnapura. There are many other exhibits like the images, artefacts, and tools that reflect the history and the processes of the established industry. It also includes a store which offers a plethora of gemstones and exotic jewellery for sale. There is a cafeteria also where you are free to refresh yourself, enjoy the beauty of nature and refill your energy. It is located 2.5 km in the centre, off the A4 highway. You should visit the place by keeping ample time in your hands as you will be stunned by the exotic gemstones and artefacts on the display and will definitely want to tour the whole museum.
Suggested Read: The Definitive Guide To National Museum Of Colombo In Sri Lanka
4. Maha Saman Devalaya
Ratnapur is loaded with many of the famous historical sites to visit but this temple is worth watching. It is Buddhist temple which is situated 4km northwest of the city and is an architectural treasure. It is a shrine that is totally dedicated to the god Saman. Constructed in the 13th century, this ancient shrine was destroyed by the Portuguese when they captured the city, but after the Kandyan Kingdom won the city back, the shrine was built again. Situated on a small hill, it has a handsome series of broad courtyards and multi-roofed, whitewashed pavilions in the Kandyan style. You can easily book a cab or taxi to visit the place but if you really want to see the side lane scenic beauty you can go for a three-wheeler. The most awaited time to visit this place is between the months of July and August as it is the time of the major festival Perahera which is celebrated by the locals on the Esala Poya.
Suggested Read: Sri Lanka In January: Best Places To Visit & Stay
5. Katugas Ella Waterfalls
The beautiful waterfalls are 6 meters high and are located 3 km away to the north of the Ratnapura city in Sri Lanka. The falls are quite scenic and amazing and are surrounded by many eating shops. You can plan a small picnic to this place and enjoy your evening with the people your love, touring through these amazing refreshing waterfalls. Most of the tourists like to visit this place in the morning so that they have ample time to relax and enjoy. The waterfalls are well hidden and surrounded by large and huge trees offering a hiking experience to many tourists
6. Sri Sankapala Raja Maha Viharaya
The ancient cave temple is found in the Ratnapura city. The majestic temple is located on a rocky mountain and includes a variety of trees with a total number of 14 caves which you can enjoy with your family and friends. Have a great time exploring this wonderful place on your next Sri Lankan tour. So, is it time to go exploring for the traveler in you-
7. Gem Mines
Ratnapura city is enriched with a plethora of long gem mines. The government here has taken special measures to ensure the safety of tourist in these mines. You can easily book a cab or taxi and visit these mines and tour them. So among other things to do near Ratnapura, one can visit this place for free to take a tour of these amazing and stunning gem mines. Don’t forget to check out this place while you’re out and about in the land.
Ratnapura is not only a place that has numerous historical sites but also offers a wonderful list of cultural attractions and scenic waterfalls. Besides some fun places to visit there are many exciting things to do in Ratnapura. So, if you are planning a holiday with your friends or family, don’t miss to discover and explore the beautiful sites of the Ratnapura city in the country that will make your whole trip wholesome and quite fun-filled. Book your trip to Sri Lanka to experience the best of this gorgeous city with your loved ones!
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Frequently Asked Questions about Things to Do in Ratnapura
What are the top attractions to visit in Ratnapura?
Below are the best places to visit in Ratnapura:
1. Sinharaja Forest Reserve
2. Udawalawe National Park
3. Boptah Ella Falls
4. Adam’s Peak
6. Maha Saman Devalaya
7. Bambarakanda Waterfalls
8. Gem Mines
10. National Museum Of Ratnapura
What are the best outdoor activities in Ratnapura?
Some of the best activities you ca enjoy in Ratnapura are:
1. Hike upto Adam’s Peak
2. Explore Gemmological Museum
3. Visit Maha Saman Devalaya
4. Enjoy a waterfall trip
5. Relish local delicacies at the top restaurants
Can I visit Ratnapura during the current Covid situation?
Yes, you can plan a visit to Ratnapura during the current Covid situation. However, make sure that you are completely vaccinated and always carry your vaccination certificate. Besides this, you need to follow government protocols that include wearing a mask when in public, sanitizing hands at certain intervals, and maintaining social distancing.
What is Ratnapura famous for?
A major city in Sri Lanka, Ratnapura is best known for its gem mining, rice and tea production. The city is surrounded by tea and rubber plantation. Located at a distance of 101 km from Colombo, it is a must-visit place on your next trip to Sri Lanka.
How long does it take to hike Adams Peak?
The hike to Adam’s peak is moderately tough, it is a stretch of about roughly 8.9 km which can be covered in 5000-6000 steps. It is best to start it very early in the morning at around 2:30-3:00 am to witness the stunning sunrise from the top.
Which are the best waterfalls in Ratnapura?
Some of the best waterfalls in Ratnapura are:
1. Bambarakanda Waterfall
2. Boptah Ella Falls
3. Kirindi Falls
4. Katugas Ella Falls
5. Rajanawa Falls
6. Alupola Falls
7. Lanka Ella Falls
8. Mapalana Falls
9. Dehena Falls
Which are the best restaurants in Ratnapura?
Volunteer Ceylon, Silver Ray Restaurant, Bopath Falls Restaurant, Chamber Restaurant, Diamond Restaurant, Roba Restaurant, Thilini Hotel Apartment, etc. are some top-rated restaurants in Ratnapura where you can enjoy delicious dishes.
How many days are enough for exploring Ratnapura?
A trip of 5-6 days would be enough to witness the best of Ratnapura. To enjoy your vacation, you can go sightseeing and indulge in outdoor activities.
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