Beautiful Yapahuwa Rock Fortress – A must-visit travel destination


Rock fortress nestled and hidden in the Kurunegala District, is the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress or called the Dalada Maligawa of Yapahuwa and a must see place when in Sri Lanka and one of the most visited areas of all. It is one of the most beautiful Rock Fortresses seen in Sri Lanka. Here it is believed, that a long time ago, the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha was enshrined in this magnificent place hidden among all the trees and forests of Yapahuwa.

The Yapahuwa Dalada Maligawa or Rock fortress is a beautiful temple with lots of history built within its walls of this temple. You have to see it, to believe in the beauty of its intricate carvings from the bottom to the top of its pillars and columns and fascinating decorative steps.

The steps are very beautiful with carved elephants, devil faces, dwarfs, gods and goddesses with gargoyle like stone lions. Come up the heavy doorway is also majestic and imposing with carvings on the windows as well. The fortress also has a rock temple hidden in the cave.  There are many frescos here. Suddenly, while you wander through this labyrinth cave your eyes get mesmerized by large bronze Buddha statue, standing among this statue is various other statues dotted in the cave area.

This amazing temple was built during King Buwanakabahu in 1272 CE, believe it or not, this place was the then Capital city of Ceylon then which Capital was moved from Polonnaruwa. You know, it had to be shifted because of the invaders from India. So when this beautiful place was invaded by outsiders none other from India the sacred place was lost and destroyed and the sacred tooth relic was plundered to neighboring India, not so fast!

And thanks and hats off to our mighty fighting Lion Kings of yesteryear, who fought tooth and nail for our precious sovereign and heritage, and got it back to our country, this was done by one of our hero kings Parakramabahau the 3rd.  Years later, we could see from the inside of this fortress, that during the period of these Kings, this place thrived in business when money, like coins and pottery was found believed to have come from China.


What are the best times for visiting?


The very best of times, of visiting this extraordinary fortress is in the months April and August. This is the best time of year as it is dry, and there is plenty of sun for you to walk in comfort and not during the slushy rainy season.  So remember when booking, to check the weather before you embark on a trip. There are a number of steps to climb to get to this place. But after getting to the top, the climbing will be well worth your while once you behold the beauty of this magnificent place of worship with its scenic green surroundings and cool breezes blowing on your face, a breath taking and warm welcome of coolness, after a much arduous climb to the top. You can get awesome 360 degree views of the scenery once at the top.


Viewing times and entrance tickets


The place is open from 7.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.  Tickets charges to enter is quite cheap for tourists which is about 4$ and just 2$ for kids.  Please do remember to be well covered when visiting religious places of worship.  And always be mindful of the country’s laws, and be respectful at all religious places of worship.

It would also be advisable to wear some comfortable shoes as you have to climb many steps.  Take with you a bottle of water and some grub to eat, as it will take awhile for you to climb this stairway to supreme bliss, once you get to the top.  So stop, awhile; admire the scenic and quiet surrounding broken by the sounds of bird song and occasional elephant trumpeting from afar.

Your guide will guide you all through the rich process of its long history rich in the country’s heritage and values. Take your time and listen to the guides mesmerizing story of days gone by, which you can relive once again in this gigantic and quintessential serene rock fortress, where once you reach the top your tiredness, and woes will miraculously disappear to nothingness? Is this the sublime bliss to Nirvana?


Stay in Comfort at one of these Hotels


Hotel Yapahuwa Paradise


This hotel is indeed a paradise just made for you.  It offers all the amenities that one could want, and is just 800 meters to the temple.  Like I said it has all the air conditioned rooms with fitted TV and private bath. For an additional payment you can also get our local herbal and Ayurvedic massages.  There is also an international restaurant for your taste buds.  All rooms have it own private balcony.

Relax and play a game of billiards in the evenings, or visit the bar and have a tot or two to unwind after a hard day of walking in the city.  If you want to visit the wild life sanctuary it is only one hour’s drive.  The hotel can arrange that for you as well.  It is also only a 40 minute drive to the Anuradhapura scared site as well and 84 miles away from the Bandaranayke International Airport.


The Kingdom of Kurunegala


Kurunegala was known as the Panduwasnuwara Kingdom and was once a royal city of Sri Lanka. This royal city was short lived and lived only for half of its century.  The tooth relic was said to be enshrined in this city during the reign of King Buwanakabahau and later King Parakramabahu. It is also known for its famous name of the elephant rock city. It is also a mysterious city of legends and love stories! Who knows, it might be a place for your dreams to come true with your Partner?

If you plan your trip take a few days to explore this city for its long lost city of ancient temples, rock temples, monasteries caves etc. you need to stay here at least a week to get to know this fascinating life and its city of a million contrasts.  There is many more walk of destinations which you will have to uncover as you walk your way among the hidden treasures of the Kingdom of Kurunegala.


Traveling from Kurunegala to Yapahuwa


You can choose any mode of transport to travel from Kurunegala to Yapauwa.  It will be approximately about 52.8 kilo meters.  You can also take a vehicle and drive yourself. However you have to know the road rules of Sri Lanka, and traveling on Sri Lanka soil and its roadway is hell.  So the best option is for you to hire a taxi. If you are on a budget you can also bus it from Maho which will be a good novel experience for you to travel by bus with lots of other commuters and you might not get a seat as buses are generally crowded in SL.

Or else check it out at a Train Station if there are any trains to Kurunegala, and hop on a train which will afford you better access of the surroundings. Must warn you though, the train too can be hectic crowded, and be very hot too.

Remember your water bottle and snacks!

On a train you will get a lot of vendors where you can buy some snacks for your journey.