Rathnapura in Sinhala means “City of Gems”. The best area for a writer to take a Gem Mining experience.
SABARAGAMUWA MAHA SAMAN DEVALAYA
This is the only temple that has been built and dedicated for God Saman. The God Sumana Saman is known as the guardian deity of Adams Peak. This temple is said to have been originally built in the 13th century AD. It is well famous for its Esala Procession held annually.
The temple is characterized by an ornamental doorway and numerous wall paintings inside. Here are some remains of Portuguese Fort and a stone sculpture of a Portuguese soldier in the vicinity of the temple.
SRI PADA (ADAM’S PEAK)
This is situated 170kms away from Colombo and the height of the mountain peak is about 7860 feet. As per the legends, Buddha is visited here during 3rd visit to Sri Lanka and kept his Left Foot Print, as invited by the Deity Sumana Saman. Pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak starts from the poya day of the month of December and it continues for six months. Peak wilderness is well known for its rich bio diversity as well, hence nominated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The total extent of the sanctuary is 22380 hectares. This is one of the rain forests in Sri Lanka. And water catchment area for many rivers.
Every pilgrim has a desire to reach the Adam’s Peak before dawn so that they could see the glory of the sun rise. The path to the mountain peak is an ………..of steps, very steep at some points. Climbing Sri Pada is a tradition from ancient times, and there are several paths to reach the peak, among them the “Nallathanniya” is the easiest. Yet have to walk about 7 kilometers. Now the area has been fully developed with many facilities, even for the foreigners. There are many superb boutique hotels facing the mountain peak.
SINHARAJA RAIN FOREST
Sinharaja forest falls within the district of Rathnapura, Galle, Kaluthara & Mathra, with the extent of 11185 hectares. Unique rain forest with rich bio diversity and endemicity, hence declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1989.
This forest attracts tourists & scientists (Biologists) from all over the world. Among the plants in the forest over 60% are endemic. Many endemic birds and fish also can be seen here. This is a thousand of years old virgin forest.
Situated in Balangoda, is an ancient hermitage which dates back to 2nd century BC. There are five caves with drip ledges and two cave inscriptions in this site. There is a flight of steps leading to the top of the rock. Ruins of an ancient temple can be seen at the summit. Muslim devotees too perform religious rites at a shrine here known as “Dafter Jailani”
Once climb the rock summit, the panoramic view you get from there including vast paddy fields and range of several mountains would be an unforgettable memory. A beautiful place to visit.
This is a fantastic place for local and foreign visitors and there are plenty of tourist resorts as well. There are ample of eco tour operators organizing nature trails, walks, hiking and biking around Belihul Oya. Its main attractions are the cool climate, mountain cliff, and the Belihul Oya River. This is a central point to visit Bambarakanda water fall the highest water fall in Sri Lanka. World’s End, Samanalaweva Reservoir, Gem Mines, and other historical places like Kuragala and Budugala. There are many places along this area for river bathing.
One of the richest bio-diversity spots in Sri Lanka, a perfect location for nature lovers. This picturesque hillside location is a climatically transitional area, linking both dry zone and the wet zone and the hill country and low country as an altitude of less than 1500 meters.