Sri Lanka is a haven of sights and attractions; so much so that one is likely to miss out on a few unless reminded. By the end of this you would have acquainted yourself with one such treasure and mastered how to visit it as well. The ancient city of Yapahuwa is documented to have been established in the early years of the 13th century and in fact housed the sacred tooth relic which has been the symbol of the country’s power and supremacy for thousands of years.
The city of Yapahuwa lies within the North Western Province of Sri Lanka not too far from Maho and Nikaweratiya. The area does not seem opulent or regal as one would expect of a former Sri Lankan kingdom, it does not even have as many ruins as its predecessors such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa as it reigned supreme for a very short period of time. If you wish to explore the limited ruins and traces of the Yapahuwa kingdom, it is recommended that you stay in Anuradhapura, which is about 2 hours away by road.
The locality is rarely affected by rain and the temperature seldom goes below 25 degrees, therefore lots of sunscreen, sun hats, a pair of shades and loose fitting cotton clothes are the best for your expedition. Pack in a few bottles of water and some chilled ginger beer to refresh yourselves as there won’t be many restaurants or juice bars in the vicinity. Wearing a sensible pair of flat shoes will help you to clamber around and enjoy the premises to the utmost.
The easiest way to know that you have reached your destination is to watch out for the flights of stairs that convey you to the summit upon which the palace used to be. It is said that there used to be three flights of stairs built in three separate stages; all decorated with carvings, of which the most famous is the final set of stairs where the Yapahuwa lion can be seen even to date. The steps are not only a magnificent sight but when you try to climb them you will notice that they are rather narrow. The creators of these steps had been intelligent; building tiny steps made sure that invaders could not ascend the steps hastily and no one could flee from the kingdom too soon either.
Essentially the kingdom has been built upon a large granite rock, commonly referred to as the Yapahuwa rock and the rocky terrain is amazing once you get to the actual site. There are signs of a stupa and proof of the rocky caverns having been used by Buddhist monks. There are scanty murals and old statues in the temple area, where the sacred tooth relic would once have been. As a mark of respect for this old religious and historical venue, it is best that you enter modestly clad.