Famous for its gemstone industry, Ratnapura is a populous city in southwestern Sri Lanka. It is also known for serving as the start point of a trail that leads to the sacred Adam's Peak. A flourishing centre for gem trade for local and foreign traders alike, Ratnapura is home to numerous gem mines and a fascinating Gem Museum. Some of the world's most recognized gemstones, such as the Star of India, Blue Belle of Asia and The Star of Adam, were discovered at Ratnapura.
The city's attractions are not limited to precious stones—Buddhist temples of historical significance and picturesque waterfalls are aplenty here. Maha Saman Devalaya is a shrine dedicated to the worship of Saman, the deity of Adam's Peak. Initially constructed in the 13th century, it was destroyed by the Portuguese three centuries later; the Sinhalese ruler King Rajasinghe II then rebuilt the shrine. Waterfalls at Ratnapura and the adjoining areas include Katugas Ella Falls, Bopath Ella Falls, and the little-known Mapalana Ella Falls.
The city houses a National Museum, with artefacts reflecting the local culture and weaponry. Fossils of elephants, deer and other animals are on exhibit as well.
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