Of all the ancient ruins in Sri Lanka, the Rock Fortress Complex of Yapahuwa is considered to be one of the best archeological sites in the country. It is located approximately 150 kilometers from Colombo and 55 kilometers from Kurunegala in the Mahawa Divisional Secretariat and is one of the country’s most important archeological sites, according to experts. The stronghold, which measures 4 meters in height and 22 meters in breadth, is perched atop a massive 90-meter-tall rock outcropping in the lowlands. The fortification and moat, which run from the western end of the Southern half of the rock to the other side of the rock in the shape of a horse shoe, are connected to the other side of the rock by a bridge. It is impossible to find any buildings of historical significance in the surrounding areas of the city.
Its history may be traced back to the 13th century, when King Buwanekabahu 1 constructed the fortifications that are still in use today. Yapahuwa was the country’s capital during that time period, and it was also the site of the Buddha’s Sacred Tooth Relic, which was kept there for a period of 12 years. A unique and significant site on the island in several dimensions (especially historically and archeologically), the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress Complex is considered to be one of the island’s most important and unique sites in several dimensions, especially historically and archeologically, as it contains abundant traces and ruins of King Buvenekabahu’s (1272-1284 AD) kingdom.

The Rock Fortress Complex of Yapahuwa is considered one of the best archeological sites in Sri Lanka. The stronghold measures 4 meters in height and 22 meters in breadth. It is perched atop a massive 90-meter-tall rock outcropping in the lowlands.

Despite the fact that there are several evidence of ancient combat defenses, the most stunning feature is its stone stairs, which stands out among the ancient constructions, which also includes sculptures of outstanding artistic quality and distinction. The steps of this stairway are small, and historians believe that this may have been done as a sort of defense because the steps cannot be down or ascended very rapidly in any direction. As a result, those at the top were able to arm themselves in preparation for a devastating attack on the enemy’s position.
The top of the stairway leads to an elegant and well-conceived gateway that would lead into the Temple of the Tooth, which held the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. The Temple of the Tooth was built in the 16th century.
It is also possible to see stone sculptures of the ‘Yapahuwa Lion,’ which have a Chinese appearance and are identical to the one depicted on the Rs.10 bank note. Archaeological excavations at Yapahuwa have revealed that the monarchy had some kind of contact with the Chinese civilization. In 1810-1811, the first Archaeological Commissioner in Sri Lanka, H.C.P. Bell (1810-1811), carried out the first archaeological excavation in Yapahuwa, where he discovered a number of Chinese coins during his dig. Aside from that, stories indicate that H.C.P. Bell discovered spectacular palace gateways during his excavations. Historicians have also drawn comparisons between Yapahuwa and Sigiriya, noting that Yapahuwa is also a rock castle, but on a lower scale than Sigiriya. Yapahuwa is likewise a rock fortress, though on a smaller scale than Sigiriya, according to historians.

Archaeological excavations at Yapahuwa have revealed that the monarchy had some kind of contact with the Chinese civilization. In 1810-1811, the first Archaeological Commissioner in Sri Lanka, H.C.P. Bell, discovered a number of Chinese coins during his dig.

There are ruins of additional structures on the top of the rock that show this site was formerly home to a huge Buddhist monastery, including a stupa and a Bodhi tree enclosure, cave used by Buddhist monks, and the ruins of other structures in the immediate vicinity of the rock. Additionally, various caves can be found at the bottom of the rock. A shrine with Buddha images and a Brahmi script inscription can be seen amongst these structures. These data demonstrate that Yapahuwa is an extremely significant location from the Buddhist point of view.

Yapahuwa is an extremely significant location from the Buddhist point of view. A shrine with Buddha images and a Brahmi script inscription can be seen amongst these structures. The ruins of a stupa and a Bodhi tree enclosure are also found at the base of the rock.

Yapahuwa could be reached by the routes mentioned below.

Colombo >Kurunegala>Maho>Yapahuwa

Image Credit: koonholidays.com

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