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Yapahuwa: Journey Back in Time to Sri Lanka’s Magnificent Citadel of Power and Spirituality

Exploring Yapahuwa: The Ancient Citadel of Sri Lanka

Yapahuwa, located in Sri Lanka’s North Western Province, is an ancient city that was once the capital of Sri Lanka during the 13th century. It served as the seat of power for King Buwanekabahu I, who built the city and the famous Yapahuwa Rock Fortress.

The Yapahuwa Rock Fortress is a unique attraction that stands on a massive granite rock, rising 300 feet above the surrounding landscape. The fortress was built by King Buwanekabahu I to protect the kingdom from South Indian invaders. The fortress features a series of stairways carved into the rock that lead to the summit, where visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

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The fortress has several attractions, including the magnificent palace ruins, the Stupa, the Bodhisattva Statue, the Image House, and the giant stone lion that guards the entrance. The palace ruins, located at the foot of the rock, are a beautiful example of ancient Sri Lankan architecture, featuring intricate carvings and beautiful frescoes.

Another significant attraction in Yapahuwa is the Yapahuwa Temple, which dates back to the 13th century. The temple features several beautiful stone statues of Buddha, including a rare reclining Buddha statue. The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens, which make for a peaceful and tranquil environment for visitors to relax and enjoy.

Yapahuwa is also home to several other historical and cultural sites, such as the Dambadeniya Vatadage, which is an ancient stupa built during the reign of King Parakramabahu II, and the Panduwasnuwara Museum, which displays a collection of artifacts from the ancient city of Panduwasnuwara.

Exploring Yapahuwa can take anywhere from half a day to a full day depending on how much time you want to spend at each attraction. The Yapahuwa Rock Fortress is the most time-consuming attraction, and it can take around 2-3 hours to explore the fortress and enjoy the scenic views from the top

History of Yapahuwa

The history of Yapahuwa dates back to the 13th century when Sri Lanka was ruled by the Polonnaruwa Kingdom. King Buwanekabahu IV, who was the ruler of the kingdom, decided to move the capital to Yapahuwa in order to protect the kingdom from foreign invasions. The site was chosen for its strategic location on a rocky outcrop, which made it difficult for enemies to attack.

The construction of the citadel began in 1273 and was completed in 1277. The site was designed to serve as a military stronghold and was surrounded by a massive rampart and a moat. The citadel also served as an administrative center and royal palace. It was home to the king and his family, as well as the royal court.

In 1284, the kingdom was invaded by the South Indian Pandyan Dynasty. The king and his family were forced to flee the citadel, and it was abandoned for several centuries. The site was rediscovered in the 19th century and was later declared a national monument in 1938.

Cultural Heritage of Yapahuwa

The city of Yapahuwa has a rich cultural heritage that reflects the influence of different civilizations that ruled Sri Lanka throughout its history. The city was a center of Buddhist culture and learning, and many Buddhist temples and monasteries were built here during the reign of King Bhuvanekabahu I.

The most notable attraction of Yapahuwa is the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress, which is located on a steep rock outcrop that rises to a height of over 300 feet. The fortress was built during the reign of King Bhuvanekabahu I and served as the royal palace and a center of administration. The fortress is surrounded by ramparts, moats, and walls, and it is accessed via a steep stairway that leads to the summit of the rock.

The Yapahuwa Temple is another significant attraction of the city. The temple houses a large reclining Buddha statue and a number of other Buddhist sculptures and paintings. The temple is located at the base of the Yapahuwa rock and is accessible via a flight of stairs.

Other notable attractions of Yapahuwa include the ruins of the palace complex, the ancient ruins of the city, and the massive stone sculptures of Buddha that can be found in different parts of the city.

Architecture of Yapahuwa

The architecture of Yapahuwa is unique and reflects the artistic and cultural influences of the time. The site is known for its impressive fortress, ancient buildings, and beautiful rock carvings. The citadel is built on a rocky outcrop and is surrounded by a massive rampart and a moat. The rampart is made of brick and stone and is over 3 meters high. The moat is over 30 meters wide and was once filled with water.

The citadel is divided into three levels. The first level is the lower terrace, which contains the entrance to the site. The second level is the middle terrace, which contains the main buildings, including the royal palace and the temple. The third level is the upper terrace, which contains the stupa and other religious buildings.

The royal palace is located on the middle terrace and is one of the most impressive buildings on the site. It is built on a raised platform and is surrounded by a stone wall. The palace has several rooms, including a throne room, a banquet hall, and a chamber for the king’s personal use.

The temple is also located on the middle terrace and is dedicated to the Buddha. It is built in the South Indian style and is decorated with beautiful carvings and sculptures. The temple also contains several shrines and meditation halls.

The upper terrace is home to the stupa, which is one of the largest on the island. It is over 70 meters tall and is surrounded by several smaller stupas and religious buildings.

How to Reach Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa is located in the northwestern province of Sri Lanka, about 150 kilometers from Colombo. The easiest way to reach Yapahuwa is by hiring a taxi or a private vehicle from Colombo. It takes around three hours to reach Yapahuwa from Colombo.

Another option is to take a bus from Colombo to Kurunegala and then take a taxi or a tuk-tuk from Kurunegala to Yapahuwa.

Best Time to Visit Yapahuwa

The best time to visit Yapahuwa is between December and March when the weather is dry and pleasant. The temperature during this time ranges from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius, making it ideal for exploring the ruins of the city.

Conclusion

Yapahuwa is a fascinating historical site that offers visitors a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage. The site is known for its unique architecture, impressive fortress, ancient buildings, and beautiful rock carvings. It played an important role in Sri Lankan history as the capital of the country during the 13th century. Today, Yapahuwa is a popular tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.

What is Yapahuwa famous for?

Yapahuwa is famous for its ancient rock fortress, which served as the royal palace during the reign of King Bhuvanekabahu I. The city is also known for its Buddhist temples, monasteries, and ruins that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

How long does it take to explore Yapahuwa?

Exploring Yapahuwa can take anywhere from half a day to a full day depending on how much time you want to spend at each attraction. The Yapahuwa Rock Fortress is the most time-consuming attraction, and it can take around 2-3 hours to explore the fortress and enjoy the scenic views from the top.

Is Yapahuwa suitable for families with children?

Yes, Yapahuwa is suitable for families with children. However, parents should be prepared to climb steep stairways to reach the attractions, especially the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress. The fortress is not recommended for very young children or those with mobility issues.

Are there any accommodations near Yapahuwa?

Yes, there are several accommodations near Yapahuwa that cater to different budgets and preferences. Some popular options include the Yapahuwa Paradise Resort, Yapahuwa Homestay, and the Lakeview Holiday Bungalow.

Can visitors climb to the top of the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress?

Yes, visitors can climb to the top of the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress via a steep stairway that leads to the summit. However, visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes and carry enough water as the climb can be physically demanding.

What is Yapahuwa?

Yapahuwa is an ancient citadel located in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. It served as the capital of Sri Lanka during the 13th century.

What is the architecture of Yapahuwa?

The architecture of Yapahuwa is unique and reflects the artistic and cultural influences of the time. The site is known for its impressive fortress, ancient buildings, and beautiful rock carvings.

How do I visit Yapahuwa?

Yapahuwa is easily accessible by road and is located approximately 130 km from Colombo. Visitors can hire a car or take a bus to Yapahuwa from Colombo. There is also a train service that runs from Colombo to Kurunegala, from where visitors can take a bus or hire a car to Yapahuwa.

What are the opening hours of Yapahuwa?

Yapahuwa is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

Lak
Lak
I Laksitha ,nature,history lover and blogger,
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