The gem-mining centre of Sri Lanka is also a major crossroad between southern plains and the hill country to the east. A bustling market city servicing most of the surrounding towns. Many of the prominent gem dealers in Sri Lanka operate from this town. Scenery around the town is excellent and charming.
There is a route to Sri Pada from Ratnapura direction. Excursions include Sinharaja Forest and Uda Walawe Wild Life Park. The route towards hill country is beautiful. The surrounding area is a popular trekking destination and a good place for bird watching. Visit traditional gem mining and cutting operations.
Ehelepola Museum is a folk cultural museum. There is a private museum called The Gem Museum. There are several other private gem museums and gem cutting centres, which are also sales outlets. The mining operation for gems has been virtually the same since the days of the Alexander the Great or perhaps the Pharaohs times except for the modern addition of the water pumps for dewatering of the pits. The supports for the excavations are still mostly the logs. Labour is provided as a share to the earnings as well as the equipment, materials as well as the daily expenses such as food too are contributed as a share.