Pick up from Negombo At 7.00 am.
Drive to Ratnapura visit Gem Mine, Gem Museaum, Saman Devalaya and back to Negombo in the evening.
Ratnapura is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of Sabaragamuwa Province, Sri Lanka and the Ratnapura District. The name ‘Ratnapura’ is a direct Sanskrit word meaning City (from the Sanskrit word ‘Pura’) of Gems (from the Sanskrit word ‘Ratna’) over 2000 years ago when the first Buddhist monks arrived here from the north eastern provinces of India namely Bodh-Gaya, Varanasi and Pataliputra they not only did bring with them the Buddhist religion but since their teachings were mainly in Sanskrit and Pali they also influenced the local language, the palm candy produced traditionally in this region, but the more common explanation in Sri Lanka is that it comes from the Sinhala “ratna” meaning gems and “pura” meaning city. Ratnapura is also spelled as Rathnapura. Located some 101 km south east of capital Colombo.
There are many gem mines around the area, especially in paddy fields on lower ground, which are deep around 10m to 50m. Portable hand operating tools use for mining process such as shovel, picks, pans (specially made from bamboo) and cradles. Once soil lifts out from the mine, with the use of water, the dirt and mud wash out using pans and thus if there any gemstone, which heavier than normal stones, remains at the bottom of the pan as mud wash away.
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.
It is a shrine dedicated to the god Saman. The god Saman is (a Buddhist deity) considered to be the guardian of Ratnapura. When the Portuguese captured Ratnapura, the ancient shrine that stood at this location was destroyed and a Portuguese church was constructed on top of it. When the Kandyan kingdom recaptured Ratnapura, the Portuguese church was destroyed and the shrine was rebuilt. Although there is no direct evidence to support the existence of the old shrine, indirect evidence supports the existence of a shrine that looked like a Hindu temple at the current location before Portuguese times. Currently this shrine is a very important place of worship for Buddhists.