Call a Sri Lanka Specialist

+94 77 359 5411
+94 11 219 9323

Day Tours and Excursions


Hotels in Sri Lanka

Yapahuwa Sri Lanka

Location Type

: Culture & Heritage

Distance From Airport

: 115 Km (3 hour drive)

Distance From Colombo

: 130 Km (3.30 hour drive)


: Yapahuwa Rock, Ancient Temple

After the fall of the great city of Polonnuruwa, the Kandyan kings fled to a succession of inaccessible crags, bearing with them the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha.

One of them was Yapahuwa, a huge, yet little-visited rock fortress a little way off the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura road, and one of the great architectural sites of the island.

This early 13th century stronghold is reminiscent of Sigiriya, a massive granite outcrop, set in a shady location, and rising 100m above the plains below. King Bhuvanekabahu I moved his capital from Dambadeniya to Yapahuwa seeking a stronger defensive position against raiders from southern India. He built a palace and a temple which housed the famous tooth relic for 11 years. After Yapahuwa was abandoned, Buddhist monks took it over and still remain today.

Most impressive is a long, steep staircase up the rock face, leading to the ancient temple. At the top of the first rock stair lays a plateau with good views across the plains. Up a more ornamental stairway rests the remains of the ancient temple.

Well-preserved guard-stones remain, as well as a pair of proud lions, one of which appears on the Sri Lankan Rs10 note. The temple itself has many good rock-carvings of animals, dancers and musicians. The windows from the ancient temple are now residing in the small museum on-site and in Colombo, and show exceptional carving skill.

The small, on-site museum is small and does have some interesting artefacts -- none better than the windows from the ancient temple - but there are no labels in English.

Perhaps of greater appeal is the small Cave Temple to the rear of the modern temple; you have to request its opening from a monk, who will almost certainly oblige. Inside are a few attractive Buddha statues and 13th century frescoes. The temple is opened by a massive, ornate golden key which in itself makes the effort worthwhile.

Photographs of Yapahuwa

Day Tours and Excursions


Hotels in Sri Lanka

Holiday Bungalows Rentals for Residents

All rights reserved by Sri Lankan Expeditions your Eco and Adventure Tour and Holiday guide in Sri Lanka
Solution By Infinity web