lies 101 Km Southeast of Colombo. The scenic route takes you
passing paddy fields, rubber plantations and tea estates.
Throughout history, Sri
Lanka has been known as a land of gems. King Solomon was
said to have procured a great ruby for the queen of Sheba
from Ceylon (Sri Lanka's former name). Marco Polo (1293 AD)
wrote about the ruby that once graced the Ruwanweliseya
Dagoba at Anuradhapura..."a flawless ruby a span long and
quite as thick as a man's fist".
Sri Lanka has produced
three of the world's largest blue sapphires, including the
'Blue Bell' which adorns the British crown and the 'Star of
India', displayed at the New York Museum of Natural History.
A visit to one of the
museums or many gem workshops will give you the opportunity
to see a variety of precious stone, such as rubies,
sapphires, cat's eyes, alexandrites, aquamarines,
tourmalines, spinels, topaz, garnets, amethyst, zircons etc.
You could also visit one of the gem mines.
Ratnapura is situated at
the foot of the 2243 metre high Adam's
Peak. All four major religions claim Adam's Peak as a
holy mountain. Buddhists call the mountain Sri Pada (the
sacred footprint), or Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain) and
believe the Lord Buddha has visited the mountain and set his
sacred footprint. Hindu's say it's Lord Shiva's and Muslims
believe that it is the place where Adam first set foot on
earth, after being cast out of heaven. Catholics say it is
of St. Thomas' the Christian Apostle who preached in South
Ratnapura is also the
staring point for the 'Classic' Hard route up Adam's Peak,
via Gilimale and Carney estate. The Pilgrimage season starts
on Poya (full moon) day in December and runs until the start
of the South-West Monsoon in April. It has been a pilgrimage
centre for over a 1000 years. King Parakramabahu and King
Nissanka Malla of Polonnaruwa provided ambalamas or 'resting
places' for weary pilgrims along the mountain route. The
other more popular route is through Dalhousie (pronounced
'Del-house') close to Dickoya.
Other routes to Adam's Peak.