On day 7 you will visit the Okkampitiya gemstone mine. Here you can discover stone extraction methods such as sieving and separating the stone gravel from earthy sands.
After the mine visit, an hour’s drive away is the beautiful town of Ella in Sri Lanka’s hill country. Admire the lovely cascading Ravana Falls on the way. If you manage to reach Ella by early evening, it is a good idea to climb Little Adam’s Peak for a breathtaking view of the sunset from the summit. The hike takes about two hours up and down.
On day 8, a tuk-tuk will be arranged for you in the neighboring town of Bandarawela. Here you will be taken through a ride amidst the gorgeous landscapes and luscious tea plantations. Stop at Lipton’s Seat for a snack with a stunning view. Sir Thomas Lipton is the genius of tea in Sri Lanka and this is where he liked to sit and sip on his tea.
The next morning, head on to the Ella Railway Station for an absolutely breathtaking train ride amidst beautiful mountains, valleys, tea plantations and villages – to the small town of Nanu Oya. Your Kashyapa Tours representative will meet you at the Nanu Oya Station and drive you to Kandy. On the way, you can stop at the scenic view of the Kotmale reservoir and also to see the Ramboda Waterfall.
You will reach Kandy by evening so you have time for a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic before you check in to Kandy House for the night.
On day 10, you can tour the Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya. Located alongside the Mahaweli River, this massive garden includes flora such as orchids, cannonball trees, royal palms and lovely colorful flower beds. Spare about 2 hours to explore this garden and then visit the stone museum in Kandy.
Later that day, you can drive to the neighboring Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage for another interactive evening with the elephants.
A Kandyan cultural dance show takes place every evening at 5.00pm. If time permits, you can enjoy this show before you return to your hotel for the night.
Day 11 & 12 Sigiriya
On the way to Sigiriya on day 11, stop at Matale to explore a batik factory and learn the art of traditional batik printing. Or another option is to experience the amazing Ayurvedic Herbal Gardens and discover traditional plants, fruits and the renowned spices of Sri Lanka. Here you can also learn about cultivation methods, harvesting, drying and how these plants/spices are used in traditional cooking and body care.
Later that day, you can visit the Dambulla Cave Temple Complex which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Five Buddhist caves are perched on rocky hills and inside these caves are exclusive wall paintings, Buddha Statues and Stupas.
Water Garden Hotel in the neighboring town of Sigiriya is where you will check in for the next few days of your Gem Trip in Sri Lanka.
Day 12 is an excursion to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Touring on a bicycle is recommended for a different experience but if you wish, our chauffeur can take you there. During the ancient era, Polonnaruwa was the capital city of Sri Lanka for centuries. You will find ruins of Temples, Palaces, Buddhist Stupas and Statues. The Parakrama Samudra Lake is a nice place to cool off before you head back to your hotel in Sigiriya.
Day 13 & 14 Colombo
Early next morning on Day 13, head towards the Lion’s Rock in Sigiriya. Our guide will help you with the climb and take you to the right places where you can discover beautiful paintings and frescoes engraved into the rock. At the top of the rock are remnants of a Fortress built by King Kashyapa during the 10th century. Explore these at the summit and enjoy a tremendous view of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lion’s Rock is one of the most popular tour attractions in Sri Lanka.
After this activity, begin a five hour journey to the city of Colombo and check in to the exclusive Shangri La Hotel for the night where you can relax and unwind after a long and tiring day.
On the last day of your Gem Tour Sri Lanka, you could choose to take a Tuk-Tuk City Tour accompanied with a guide to explore the trading hub, popular markets, important temples and some colonial buildings. Another option is to explore the city on your own and spend your time shopping for souvenirs and so on before it is time for you to head to the airport.
One hour from Colombo is the Bandaranaike International Airport.
This is where your Gem Tour in Sri Lanka comes to an end. Sincerely hoping that you found this itinerary attractive; we are waiting to hear from you. Please note that we are very flexible with changes to the itinerary so if you have any special requirements, kindly get in touch with us.
History of Gems in Sri Lanka
The history of the gems industry dates back to about 3000 years ago. According to the great Sri Lankan chronicle Mahavamsa, Ceylon was known as ‘Ratna Deepa’ in Sanskrit, meaning ‘the island of jewels’. Its soils, rich in minerals, have been yielding an amazingly continuous supply of premium quality precious and semi-precious gem stones. Ratnapura (translating to ‘city of gems’ in Sinhalese) owns a significantly wide range of gemstones, many of which are outstanding in clarity when compared to stones from other areas.Apart from producing these precious gems, the Sri Lankan gem industry has also been specializing in the process of mining, cutting and polishing for many centuries. Because Sri Lankans have an extensive knowledge on the types of gems and how they should be cut, each stone that is found and prepared for the foreign market is finely cut and polished before exported. Ceylon Moors, descendants of the Arabians are those who are largely responsible for the gem industry in Sri Lanka. This is because the Arabs undertook rich trading – the ability to speak a variety of languages and the wealth to travel across the globe in search of commercially valuable items.
After the end of the civil war nearly a decade ago, Sri Lanka has been showing excellent growth in the service, industrial and agricultural sectors. With regard to the gem industry, regulations pertaining to mining and exports of gems have relaxed, thereby resulting in growth of the industry itself.
Gem varieties available in Sri Lanka
Since the early times of gem production, some off the common gemstones produced in Ceylon are:
- Cat’s eye
- Star sapphire
The Blue Sapphire is one of the most supreme gems that Sri Lanka is renowned for. Some of the finest blue sapphires in the world are found here, one of which was gifted to Princess Diana by Prince Charles! Being second to diamond in hardness, this premium stone is amongst the highly prized of all gems.