Ratnapura “Ratna” means Gems “Pura” means City in Sinhalese, so it is the “City of Gems”. It is the city that supplied gems to the entire world since pre history. The main plantation is Rubber but there are tea estates and tea factories. Ratnapura is at the foot of the Sacred Adam’s Peak . There are many pre historic artefacts found from the gem pits which speaks of a highly civilised civilisation of Sri Lanka.
Adams Peak Sri Pada is 2243 metres in height and is known as Samanthakuta or Samanalakanda. It’s the abode of Deity Saman. The legend discloses that Deity Saman is the younger brother of King Ravana who ruled Sri Lanka 6000 BC. Lord Gautama Buddha on his visit to Sri Lanka left his foot print on the request of Deity Sumana. The Hindus call it ‘Siva Padam’ while the Muslims and Christians call it ‘Adams Foot’ and the Catholics call it the foot print of St Thomas whose tomb is in Madras. The pilgrimages begins with the Full Moon on of Unduwap [December] and ends with the Vesak full moon day in May. Thousands of devotees visit Adam’s Peak from Ratnapura via Carney Estate, which is an 8 km trek and takes 6-7 hours. The most popular route from Hatton – Masleliya which takes 4-5 hour climb.The magnificent sunrise can be witnessed if you are at the top (Siripada / Adam’s Peak ) in the early morning. A visit to the peak during the off season would be a wonderful experience.
Sinharaja the tropical and the most famed forest reserve in Sri Lanka is Sinharaja. It is classified as a World Heritage by UNESCO. Its Bio diversity is very high and a large part of the flora in this forest is common to the country and some are endemic to the Sinharaja. For a bird watcher it’s a paradise. This is a very good place to see many endemic birds such as Ceylon Lorikeet, Layard’s parakeet, Jungle and Spur Fowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Grey Horn bill, Spotted wing Thrush, Rufous and Brown- capped Babbler, Ashy-headed Laughing Thrush, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White Headed Starling, Ceylon Hill Mynah, Legge’s Flower pecker. The clear cut roads in to the jungle provide easy access to the forest.