The Stone Stairway at the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress
The Stone Stairway at the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

Sri Lanka, the small paradise in the Indian Ocean, is famous around the world in several aspects. Not only has its natural beauty made it a tourist hotspot, but the geographical location, and historical values as well. In Sri Lankan history, there are hundreds of facts that gain the attention of tourists and even locals. This history includes the establishment of civilization, the establishment of religions, the royal time, and the colonial period until gaining freedom and settling as an independent country. The story of introducing Buddhism to the country and establishing it throughout the country is quite interesting. Yapahuwa rock fortress is a part of that amazing history.

In fact, it is related to the journey of bringing down the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Hence, it is one of the most significant sites in Sri Lanka historically. Continue reading to know more about this wonderful attraction!

Significance of Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress, as mentioned above, is quite a remarkable site within the territory of Sri Lanka. It significantly has a connection with the religion, Buddhism, and its establishment. At the same time, it is a major monument that lies in the Yapahuwa division. It was once a kingdom, back in history. Also, another reason for this rock fortress to be this famous is that there are only two rock fortresses in the country including this. Besides, the Yapahuwa rock fortress is famous as an archeological site due to the unique archeology values it holds.

Historical Significance

When it comes to the historical importance of the Yapahuwa rock fortress, it was one of the major religious monuments of Yapahuwa, the capital of 13th-century Sri Lanka. King Buwanekabahu I, the son of King Parakramabahu built this. He built it with the intention of keeping an eye on the invaders who were trying to conquer the country back then. Accordingly, the palace and the temple became a fortress where they could station and be on standby for any attack. Even today you can find evidence that supports defence as there are ruins of early defence mechanisms.

Religious Significance

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress was later turned into a Buddhist monastery. After abandoning it being a fortress, the monks converted it into a monastery. They used the complex for meditation purposes and still the monks can be seen among the ruins engaging in meditation. Most importantly, the sacred Tooth Relic was first housed in Yapahuwa Rock Fortress when it was transported down to Sri Lanka. Then only the tooth relic was transferred to the current location, the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy.

Architectural Significance

Yapahuwa rock fortress, as mentioned above, is one of the two rock fortresses in Sri Lanka. This is almost identical to the well-known rock fortress, Sigiriya.

Yapahuwa rock fortress particularly has two sections. The outer and inner sections still have visible traces of battle. To reach the top of the fortress you have to climb an insanely steep stone staircase. You can see this stairway at the very entrance of the place. This staircase seems never-ending and absolutely eye-catching. The staircase makes the spot very picturesque and attractive.

Similarly, as in Sigiriya, there are two lion statues guarding the treasures at the doorway on the top of the staircase. Other than that, you can find a stupa, a Bodhi tree, and a rock cave. Also, there are a couple of caves that can be seen at the base of the rock. One of these caves is a Buddhist Shrine and another has some inscriptions on it. However, all the caves arise your curiosity to explore them by walking around a little. Also, you can find incredibly engraved stone carvings around the place, and they have an unbelievable finish as well. Therefore, the Yapahuwa rock fortress is a historical site with rich archeological values that are worth to be witnessed.

With all these significant facts, the Yapahuwa rock fortress is always a good choice when it comes to sightseeing and to sneak peek into the history of Sri Lanka.

Route to Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa is one of the main and busiest routes in Sri Lanka during seasonal times. Particularly, it is located a little way off the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura road. Since this route is very popular among tourists, almost all the transport modes are available for you to reach Yapahuwa.

In order to visit Yapahuwa from Colombo, you first need to reach Kandy or Kurunegala.

If you are willing to take a train ride, you can take the train to Kurunegala from Colombo fort. Then, you have to get down at Maho junction. It will only take around two hours. However, if you get an express train you will not probably feel tired during the course. After getting down at that particular stop you just have to take a taxi ride or footwork until you reach the place. However, it is just a ten-minute ride or a walk.

If you prefer a bus ride rather than any other mode, you can easily take a direct bus to Kurunegala from Colombo main bus station and get to Kurunegala. After that, you have to take a taxi or any preferable transport mode to reach your destination. This will take around three and a half hours altogether. By train, it will be around two and half hours and the rest will take around one hour. This is the cheapest mode but can be crowded.

If you are so concerned about the comfortability and convenience it is better to choose a taxi or your own vehicle to reach Yapahuwa. The journey will take the same time as the time of the train ride, but you can stop whenever you want and rest a bit, and continue the journey.

Yapahuwa Climb

Yapahuwa is all about the never-ending staircase that is there at the very beginning of the premises. The view of the staircase itself gives a feeling that the journey is going to be hard and tiring. At the bottom of the staircase, you can witness the top of it along with hundreds of stairs that do not have a slope but are very straight. The best you can do when you are getting ready for this climb is to avoid unnecessary weights as much as possible. The lighter you carry, the easier the climb will be. So, you can have small baggage with the most necessary items in it, such as snacks, and water bottles. Further, it is better to wear some loose clothes, as the fancier and more uncomfortable you are, the harder the climb would be.

Further, it is better to wear a pair of cosy shoes as it will be more comfortable than wearing some slippers or sandals. Also, remember that the top of the staircase is not the destination, you have to climb via a steep and tricky walking path in order to reach the summit. At this point, you will get a 360-degree view of the entire region, which will make you speechless. In fact, the view is all about the lush greenery, widely spread jungles, and the sound of the gushing wind along the enormous rock.

Most importantly, you need to be very careful when you are climbing up the rock as it can be sloppy sometimes. However, the climb can be so adventurous and enthusiastic, if you are a lover of hiking, trekking, or climbing. Have a better experience by not taking it as a challenge, but as an adventure.

Accomodation in Yapahuwa

As mentioned above Yapahuwa is located on the route where the tourist attraction is comparably high. Therefore, it is not hard to find a proper accommodation that is up to your expectations. It is rich with a wide array of accommodations such as guest houses, villas, rest houses, and hotels. These accommodations offer you an enjoyable and surprisingly good day despite the surroundings being a quiet rural area with few to zero facilities. Further, there is nothing to worry about burglary and thieves even though it is kind of a rural area in that part of the country.

The Bottom Line

Yapahuwa is simply a must-visit. The historical grandeur and the artistic values it holds are simply impressive. So, make sure to add Yapahuwa rock fortress to your traveling list as well, if you are willing to have both an adventurous and historical experience at once. Indeed, Yapahuwa rock fortress will add some good memories to your memory lane while adding some important details to your knowledge. Happy and safe traveling!