Ratnapura is the provincial capital of Sri Lanka’s province of Sabaragamuwa and the district of Ratnapura in which the city is located. It is the hub of a long-established precious stone mining industry, including rubies, sapphires, and other gems, situated some 101 km south-east of Colombo. In addition to gem mining, the town is known for growing rice and fruit. Huge tea and rubber plantations surround the town. Tea grown in this region is called low-country tea.
The Ratnapura town depends on the gem trade as most of the large scale businesses of Sri Lanka operate from Ratnapura. The town’s agricultural industry is well developed as a large plantation of tea and rubber surrounds the town. The bulk of Sri Lanka’s large-scale gem businesses work from Ratnapura as this precious town is dependent on the trade of gems.
Though rice fields used to be a popular sight around the region, rice cultivation in Ratnapura is currently facing an uncertain future because many farmers are abandoning their rice cultivation and moving onto the gem mining business, for better profitability.
As Sri Lanka is a land renowned for making some of the world’s most beautiful gems, such as the Blue Bell adorning the British crown and the ‘Rock of India.’ Ratnapura is the island’s gem mining site, and a visit to this town will encourage you to see the process of digging the pits and washing the gem-containing gravel.
For a very exciting and unforgettable experience which should not be missed, you could quickly catch one of the many three wheelers available and ride the short distance to visit the mines!