Ratnapura, Sri Lanka

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ratnapura, Sri Lanka

Region: Province

Geographic Coordinates: 6.680600, 80.402200
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 35.0°C (68°F to 95°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with two monsoon seasons and average temperatures of 27-30°C.
Population: 165998
Language: Sinhala

Ratnapura, Situated in the Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka, Is a city renowned for its gem mining history. The name Ratnapura translates to City of Gems in Sinhalese and the city is surrounded by verdant hills and valleys, Making it an attractive destination for nature enthusiasts. The gem mines in Ratnapura have been operational for over two millennia and are famous for producing some of the world’s finest sapphires, Rubies, Topaz, And other precious stones. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the mines and see how these valuable gems are extracted from deep within the earth.

In addition to its gem mining industry, Ratnapura has a rich cultural heritage with several ancient temples dating back to 2nd century BC. One such temple is Maha Saman Devalaya which houses one of Lord Buddha’s teeth relics and holds great significance among Buddhists. Ratnapura also serves as an excellent base for exploring nearby national parks such as Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Udawalawe National Park. These parks offer visitors an opportunity to experience Sri Lanka’s diverse flora and fauna up close while trekking through lush forests or on safari drives.

For those interested in traditional crafts such as pottery or weaving, Ratnapura has several workshops where skilled artisans create beautiful handicrafts using age-old techniques passed down through generations. Food lovers can indulge themselves with delicious local cuisine including spicy curries made with fresh seafood or meat served alongside steaming bowls of rice or roti bread. Street food stalls selling snacks like samosas or hoppers are also a common sight throughout the city.

Overall, Ratnapura offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, Cultural heritage, Adventure activities along with mouth-watering food options making it an ideal destination for travelers looking to experience the best of Sri Lanka.

Important Landmarks

  1. Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak)
  2. Udawalawe National Park
  3. Ratnapura Gem Museum
  4. Katugas Ella Falls
  5. Sinharaja Forest Reserve
  6. Saman Devalaya Temple
  7. Kirindi Ella Falls
  8. Galapitamada Falls
  9. Maha Saman Devalaya Temple
  10. Ratnapura Clock Tower

Primary Industries

  1. Ratnapura, Sri Lanka is known for its gemstone industry and has been a major hub for gem mining and trading for centuries.
  2. The city also has a significant agriculture industry, with tea plantations, rubber plantations, and rice cultivation being the primary crops grown in the region.
  3. Additionally, Ratnapura is home to several small-scale industries such as woodworking, metalworking, and handicrafts.
  4. The tourism industry is also growing in Ratnapura due to its natural beauty and historical significance as an important center of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Noteable History

  1. Ratnapura is renowned for its rich history of gem mining and trading, dating back to ancient times. The city’s name means city of gems in Sinhalese.
  2. In the 14th century, the famous Chinese explorer Zheng He visited Ratnapura and recorded his observations about the city’s gem trade.
  3. During the colonial period, Ratnapura was a significant center for British tea plantations and rubber production.
  4. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, one of Sri Lanka’s most famous politicians, was born in a village near Ratnapura in 1899.
  5. Sanath Jayasuriya, a Sri Lankan cricketer, is from Matara district adjacent to Ratnapura district.
  6. Ven Walisinghe Harischandra played an important role in promoting Buddhism and Sinhalese culture during British colonial rule; he also worked to preserve traditional crafts like gem cutting and weaving in Ratnapura.
  7. In recent years there have been several large-scale archaeological excavations around Ratnapura that have uncovered ancient artifacts dating back thousands of years including stone tools and pottery fragments from prehistoric times through to medieval period.
  8. Ratnapuraya Raja Maha Viharaya is one of the oldest Buddhist temples located close by Rathnayake Nilame’s residence at Maligapitiya Watta.
  9. The historic Katugas Ella Falls located at Mahawalawatta on Balangoda – Kalawana Road are among the popular tourist attractions around Rathnapura.
  10. The National Museum Gem Bureau (NMGB) situated at No:25,Gemunu Mawatha,Ratnpaura,is a museum dedicated entirely towards showcasing Sri Lanka’s precious stones industry which has its roots deeply embedded within this region.

Museums and Things To See

  1. National Museum of Ratnapura showcases the cultural and natural heritage of Ratnapura, including displays on gemstones, traditional crafts, and local history.
  2. Udawalawe National Park is located just outside of Ratnapura and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, and birds.
  3. Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) is a sacred mountain revered by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike for its religious significance.
  4. Katugas Ella Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the nearby town of Balangoda.
  5. Gem mines in Ratnapura are known as the City of Gems where visitors can tour gem mines and learn about the process of mining precious stones.
  6. Sankapala Raja Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple with stunning architecture and intricate carvings.
  7. Saman Devalaya Temple is a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Ratnapura city center.
  8. Rathnagiri Bodiya is a famous Buddhist temple located on top of a hill overlooking the city.
  9. Ratnayake Tea Factory offers visitors an opportunity to learn about tea production process from plucking leaves to packaging.
  10. Samadhi Buddha Statue stands at 20 feet tall making it one among largest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka which is situated at Wewalwatte junction in Ratnapura.


  • Kevum Bakers – famous for traditional Sri Lankan sweets and snacks like kevum, kokis, and athirasa.
  • The Gem Restaurant – known for its authentic Sri Lankan rice and curry dishes.
  • Ruhunu Food Court – a popular spot for street food like kottu roti, hoppers, and fried rice.
  • Siri Saman Restaurant – serves delicious seafood dishes like crab curry and prawn masala.
  • Udawalawe Walawa Restaurant – offers a variety of Sri Lankan dishes including vegetarian options.
  • Jayamali Restaurant – specializes in spicy curries made with fresh vegetables and meats.
  • Rathna Niwasa Hotel & Restaurant – serves traditional Sinhalese cuisine with a modern twist.
  • Nadeeja Family Restaurant – known for its mouth-watering biryani, fried rice, noodles, and grilled meats.
  • Sumanagiri Hotel & Restaurant – offers tasty local food at affordable prices such as string hoppers with chicken curry or fish gravy.
  • Samantha’s Rice & Curry House – serves deliciously spiced curries that are perfect to accompany steaming hot rice.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Udawalawe National Park – famous for its elephant population and wildlife safaris.
    2. Sinharaja Forest Reserve – a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its biodiversity and hiking trails.
    3. Kitulgala Adventure Sports – offers activities such as white water rafting, canyoning, and zip-lining.
    4. Ratnapura City Park – a public park with walking paths, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
    5. Kuruwita-Erathna Trail – a popular trekking route that passes through scenic landscapes and waterfalls.
    6. Samanala Wewa Reservoir – a scenic spot for boating, fishing, and birdwatching.
    7. Bopath Ella Waterfall – a picturesque waterfall that is popular among tourists for swimming and picnicking.
    8. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – an elephant sanctuary where visitors can watch elephants being fed and bathed in the river.


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