Sabaragamuwa is one of Sri Lanka’s nine provinces. It is situated inland and at the south western slopes of the island’s central highlands. Sabaragamuwa Province covers an area of about 5000 square kilometres, with a population of about 1.9 million. Provincial capital is Ratnapura. Sabaragamuwa is divided into two administrative districts: Ratnapura and Kegalle.
Sabaragamuwa’s name is derived from former indigenous inhabitants called Sabaras. Sabara is a term for tribal hunter gatherers, which is often used in ancient India.
Sabaragamuwa is Sri Lanka’s gem province. Gems are also found at the northeastern slopes of the central highlands but mainly in the south-west at the foot of Adam’s Peak (Siri Pada). Sri Lanka’s main gem mining area, famous for its wide range of colours of best quality sapphires, is near Ratnapura, “Ratnapura” means “gem city”.
Besides Ratnapura’s gem industry, there are three major attractions for tourists in the Sabaragamuwa province, namely the Pinnawela elephant orphanage near Ratnapura, Kitulgala for its river rafting opportunities, and last not least Sinharaja, Sri Lanka’s largest rain forest.
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