About SG

Sabaragamuwa is one of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka, a beautiful island nation located in South Asia. This province is situated in the southwestern part of the country, and it is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and diverse geography. Here’s a closer look at the province of Sabaragamuwa:

Geography and Landscape: Sabaragamuwa is characterized by its diverse landscape, which includes lush green hills, fertile valleys, and picturesque waterways. The province is home to the Knuckles Mountain Range, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which offers breathtaking views, dense forests, and numerous hiking trails for nature enthusiasts. This region is a paradise for those who enjoy trekking and exploring the great outdoors.

The province is also known for its many rivers, including the Kalu Ganga and the Walawe Ganga, which flow through its territory, providing fertile soil for agriculture. The serene Bolgoda Lake is another natural gem in Sabaragamuwa, perfect for boating and bird-watching.

Culture and History: Sabaragamuwa has a rich cultural heritage that reflects the traditions and customs of the Sinhalese people, who make up the majority of the population. The province is home to several ancient temples and historical sites that showcase the deep-rooted Buddhist influence in the region.

The city of Kegalle, in Sabaragamuwa, is famous for its traditional mask-making industry. These intricately carved masks play a significant role in Sri Lankan culture, particularly in the vibrant and colorful Kandyan dance performances.

Economy: Agriculture is the backbone of the Sabaragamuwa economy. The province is known for its tea plantations, rubber estates, and fruit orchards. The cool climate in the hill areas is ideal for growing tea, and some of Sri Lanka’s finest teas are produced here. Rubber production is another significant economic activity, contributing to the region’s prosperity.

Tourism: Sabaragamuwa has been gaining popularity as a tourist destination due to its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. Tourists visit the province to explore its national parks, trek in the Knuckles Range, and enjoy the peaceful lakes and rivers. The tranquil environment and eco-friendly tourism options make it a haven for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Education and Institutions: The province is home to several educational institutions, including the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, which is known for its academic excellence and scenic campus.

In conclusion, Sabaragamuwa is a province in Sri Lanka that boasts a harmonious blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and economic significance. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for a serene getaway, Sabaragamuwa has something to offer to every traveler. Its lush landscapes, historical treasures, and warm hospitality make it a must-visit destination in Sri Lanka.

Geography and Landscapes

  1. Varied Topography: Sabaragamuwa Province is characterized by a varied topography that includes lowlands, hills, and mountains. The region is primarily divided into three geographical zones: the lowland plains, the intermediate zone with rolling hills, and the mountainous region.

  2. Lowland Plains: The southwestern part of Sabaragamuwa is dominated by lowland plains. These fertile plains are ideal for agriculture and are the breadbasket of the province, producing a variety of crops, including rice, vegetables, and fruits. The extensive river network in this area, including the Kalu Ganga and the Gin Ganga, provides the necessary irrigation for agriculture.

  3. Rolling Hills: The intermediate zone of Sabaragamuwa consists of undulating hills and valleys. This region is covered with lush vegetation and is home to several small and medium-sized towns. The climate here is milder compared to the lowlands, making it a favored destination for those seeking respite from the tropical heat.

  4. Mountainous Region: The central and eastern parts of Sabaragamuwa are characterized by rugged mountains and dense forests. The most prominent mountain range in the province is the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the last remaining virgin rainforests in Sri Lanka. This region is known for its rich biodiversity and unique flora and fauna, including many endemic species.

  5. Rivers and Waterfalls: Sabaragamuwa is blessed with numerous rivers and waterfalls that cascade down from the hills and mountains. Some notable waterfalls in the province include the Bopath Ella, Diyaluma Falls, and Ravana Falls. These natural attractions not only contribute to the region’s scenic beauty but also serve as popular tourist destinations.

  6. Climate: Sabaragamuwa experiences a tropical rainforest climate in the mountainous areas, characterized by high rainfall throughout the year. The lowland plains have a more typical tropical monsoon climate with distinct wet and dry seasons.

  7. Biodiversity: Due to its diverse landscape, Sabaragamuwa is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve, in particular, is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity, including many endemic species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

  8. Agriculture: Agriculture is a significant economic activity in Sabaragamuwa, with rice, tea, rubber, and spices being important crops. The fertile soil in the lowland plains and the favorable climate in the hills contribute to the success of agriculture in the region.

  9. Cultural Significance: Beyond its natural beauty, Sabaragamuwa also holds cultural significance. It is home to several ancient temples, historical sites, and cultural festivals that celebrate the region’s rich heritage.

Culture & History

Ancient Period: The early history of Sabaragamuwa is closely associated with the rise of ancient kingdoms on the island of Sri Lanka. This region was part of the kingdom of Rohana, which was established by King Dutugemunu in the 2nd century BCE. The area’s strategic location made it a crucial center for agriculture, trade, and culture during this time. Many Buddhist monasteries and temples were built in Sabaragamuwa during this period, contributing to its cultural significance.

Medieval Period: During the medieval period, Sabaragamuwa continued to be a thriving center of agriculture and trade. The region’s fertile valleys and riverbanks supported the cultivation of rice, sugarcane, and other crops. The historical city of Ratnapura, which is now the provincial capital, was a significant trade hub for gemstones, particularly precious sapphires, rubies, and other gemstones found in the region. The name “Ratnapura” even means “City of Gems” in Sinhalese.

Colonial Era: The arrival of European colonial powers, particularly the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, had a profound impact on Sabaragamuwa. The Portuguese and Dutch were primarily interested in controlling coastal areas and had limited influence in the province’s interior. However, with the British colonial rule, Sabaragamuwa became an integral part of Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka).

The British period led to the modernization of the region, including the construction of roads and railways, which facilitated the transport of goods, including gemstones, from Sabaragamuwa to the rest of the island and abroad.

Post-Independence Period: After gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1948, Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) restructured its administrative divisions. Sabaragamuwa Province, as it is known today, was officially established on May 14, 1987, as part of a larger decentralization effort in the country. It was created by merging two former provinces, namely the Ratnapura and Kegalle districts.

Cultural Heritage: Throughout its history, Sabaragamuwa has been a repository of Sri Lankan culture and traditions. The province is known for its vibrant traditional arts, including the famous Kandyan dance, mask-making, and various rituals and festivals that are celebrated with great fervor. The temples and historical sites in Sabaragamuwa continue to be important cultural landmarks, reflecting the enduring influence of Buddhism on the region.

Economy

  1. Agriculture: Agriculture is a significant pillar of the Sabaragamuwa economy. The province’s fertile lowland plains are well-suited for rice cultivation, and paddy farming is a prominent agricultural activity. Other crops like vegetables, fruits, rubber, tea, and spices are also grown here. The region’s agricultural output contributes substantially to both the local and national food supply.

  2. Tea Plantations: Sabaragamuwa is home to several tea plantations, contributing to Sri Lanka’s renowned tea industry. The cool climate and lush hillsides of the intermediate zone provide an ideal environment for tea cultivation. Tea estates in the region produce high-quality Ceylon tea, which is exported globally.

  3. Rubber Production: Rubber cultivation is another important agricultural activity in Sabaragamuwa. The province is a significant producer of natural rubber, contributing to Sri Lanka’s rubber industry. Rubber plantations are found in the lowland areas, where the climate is suitable for rubber tree growth.

  4. Industry: Sabaragamuwa has witnessed industrial growth in recent years. There are various small and medium-sized industries involved in manufacturing and processing activities. Industries related to food processing, wood processing, and cottage industries are prevalent. These industries provide employment opportunities and contribute to the provincial economy.

  5. Tourism: The province’s scenic landscapes, including the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and picturesque waterfalls, attract tourists and nature enthusiasts. Tourism plays a growing role in the local economy, supporting businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and transportation services.

  6. Mining: Sabaragamuwa has mineral resources, including gemstones like sapphires and graphite deposits. Gemstone mining, especially in the Ratnapura district, is an important economic activity. The region is famous for its gem markets, drawing traders and tourists interested in precious stones.

  7. Handicrafts and Cottage Industries: The province is known for its traditional handicrafts and cottage industries, including the production of wooden carvings, pottery, and traditional masks. These crafts are not only a source of income for local artisans but also contribute to the region’s cultural heritage.

  8. Education and Skilled Workforce: Sabaragamuwa is home to several educational institutions, including universities and technical colleges. These institutions help produce a skilled workforce, contributing to various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, industry, and services.

  9. Infrastructure Development: Ongoing infrastructure development projects, such as road improvements and connectivity enhancements, aim to facilitate economic growth in the province by improving transportation and access to markets.

  10. SME Development: The government has been promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sabaragamuwa, providing support and incentives to encourage entrepreneurship and economic diversification.

Tourism

  1. Natural Attractions: Sabaragamuwa is renowned for its breathtaking natural landscapes. The province is home to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the last remaining rainforests in Sri Lanka. Tourists visit Sinharaja to explore its lush greenery, diverse wildlife, and pristine waterfalls. The region also boasts numerous other waterfalls like Diyaluma Falls, Ravana Falls, and Bopath Ella Falls, which are popular tourist spots.

  2. Adventure Tourism: Sabaragamuwa offers various adventure activities for thrill-seekers. The rugged terrain and mountainous areas are ideal for hiking, trekking, and mountain biking. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve has numerous trails for nature enthusiasts. White-water rafting and kayaking on the rivers, such as the Kelani River, offer adrenaline-pumping experiences.

  3. Cultural Heritage: The province has a rich cultural heritage with several ancient temples, historical sites, and cultural festivals. The Embekke Devalaya, Lankathilaka Vihara, and Gadaladeniya Vihara are well-preserved ancient temples showcasing exquisite architecture and intricate woodwork. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by participating in religious ceremonies and festivals.

  4. Gemstone Markets: Ratnapura, a city in Sabaragamuwa, is known as the “City of Gems” and is a major attraction for those interested in gemstones. Tourists can explore gem mines, visit gem museums, and shop for precious stones in local markets.

  5. Agro-Tourism: The province’s agricultural activities, including tea and rubber plantations, offer opportunities for agro-tourism. Tourists can learn about the cultivation and processing of tea leaves, as well as the tapping of rubber trees. This educational experience provides insights into the local agricultural practices.

  6. Wildlife Watching: Sabaragamuwa is home to diverse wildlife, including many endemic species. Birdwatching enthusiasts can spot a wide variety of avian species, while the rainforests hide various reptiles, amphibians, and insects. With patience and a bit of luck, tourists might even glimpse elusive creatures like the Sri Lankan leopard.

  7. Eco-Tourism: The emphasis on eco-tourism is growing in Sabaragamuwa, especially in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Sustainable tourism practices are encouraged to protect the delicate ecosystems and biodiversity of the region.

  8. Accommodation and Infrastructure: The province offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to eco-friendly lodges and budget guesthouses. Infrastructure development, including road improvements and transport connectivity, is enhancing accessibility for tourists.

  9. Local Cuisine: Visitors can savor the authentic flavors of Sabaragamuwa through its local cuisine. Traditional dishes such as rice and curry, hoppers, and various coconut-based preparations are popular among tourists.

  10. Art and Handicrafts: Sabaragamuwa is known for its traditional handicrafts, including wooden carvings, pottery, and traditional masks. Tourists can purchase these unique souvenirs as mementos of their visit.

Education and Institutions

  1. Primary and Secondary Education: Sabaragamuwa has a network of primary and secondary schools, providing education to children of all ages. These government and private schools offer a standard curriculum, and the quality of education in many of them is commendable. Students prepare for national examinations such as the Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) exams, which determine their eligibility for higher education.

  2. Vocational Training Centers: Vocational training centers are present in the province to equip students with practical skills that can lead to employment opportunities. These centers offer training in fields such as carpentry, masonry, welding, and computer skills.

  3. Higher Education Institutions:

    • Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka: The province is home to Sabaragamuwa University, a prominent higher education institution located in Belihuloya. The university offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various disciplines, including science, agriculture, management, and humanities.

    • Rathnapura Technical College: This institution focuses on technical and vocational education, offering diploma and certificate courses in fields like engineering, automotive technology, and computer science.

  4. Teacher Training Institutes: Sabaragamuwa Province has teacher training colleges that prepare future educators for primary and secondary schools. These institutions are crucial for maintaining a high standard of education in the province.

  5. Agricultural Training Centers: Given the importance of agriculture in the region, there are agricultural training centers that provide education and practical training in modern farming techniques, crop management, and agribusiness.

  6. Healthcare Training: Several nursing schools and allied health training institutions in the province train healthcare professionals, ensuring a skilled healthcare workforce.

  7. Technical and Vocational Education: Sabaragamuwa Province recognizes the importance of technical and vocational education in equipping students with employable skills. These institutions offer courses in fields like mechanics, electronics, and hospitality.

  8. Research and Development: Sabaragamuwa University is at the forefront of research and development efforts in the province. Researchers at the university engage in various research projects aimed at solving regional and national challenges, including those related to agriculture and environmental conservation.

  9. Access to Education: Efforts are made to ensure equitable access to education in Sabaragamuwa, particularly in rural areas. Initiatives like scholarships and transport facilities for students from remote areas aim to reduce disparities in education.

  10. Cultural and Artistic Education: Sabaragamuwa also promotes cultural and artistic education, with institutions offering courses in traditional dance, music, and other forms of art and culture.

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