Hiking the Rose Quartz Mountain

Twentyfive kilometers from Sigiriya is the famous rose quartz mountain range. It is the largest rose quartz deposit in all Asia. Here mining is prohibited by the Sri Lankan government as the quartz range lies inside a nature reserve. Around the tiny mountain range is the national ironwood forest (Jathika Namal Uyana). It is the largest man-made forest in South Asia. Ruins of a third-century Buddhist monastery are scattered inside this ironwood forest. In ancient times, dangerous convicts had sought refuge at the monastery and the resident monks had ordered them to plant ironwood trees as penitence for their crimes. As time went by the monastery was abandoned but the ironwood thrived.