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Ruins

Royal Palace-Yapahuwa

  Province North western
  District Kurunagala
  Nearest Town Yapahuwa
  Period Year 1273
  Ruler King Buwanakabahu 1

Introduction

In the early 13th century Yapahuwa was he capital of the country and it housed the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha for 11 Years. King Bhuvanekabhu I, the son of the King Parakramabahu who at that time ruled Dambadeniya, was stationed at Yapahuwa in order to protect the Country from Invaders; built the palace and the temple. After the Fortress was abandoned monks converted it into a monastery and monks still reside among the ancient ruins. Even today signs of early defense mechanisms can still be seen among the ruins.

History

The palace and fortress were built by King Buvanekabahu I (1272–1284) in the year 1273. Many traces of ancient battle defences can still be seen, while an ornamental stairway, is its biggest showpiece. On top of the rock are the remains of a stupa, a Bodhi tree enclosure, and a rock shelter/cave used by Buddhist monks, indicating that earlier this site was used as a Buddhist monastery, like many boulders and hills in the area. There are several caves at the base of the rock. In one of them there is a shrine with Buddha images. One cave has a Brahmi script inscription. At the southern base of the rock there is a fortification with two moats and ramparts. In this enclosure there are the remains of a number of buildings including a Buddhist shrine. There is also a Buddhist temple called Yapawwa Rajamaha Vihara built during the Kandyan period.

The Tooth Relic was brought from Dambadeniya and kept in the Tooth Temple built for the purpose at the top of the third staircase. The relics were carried away from the temple here to South India by the Pandyas, and then recovered in 1288 by Parakkramabahu III (1287–1293), who temporarily placed them in safety at Polonnaruwa.

An ancient fortress and capital from the year 1301 A.D. Yapahuwa is like Sigiriya, a rock rising abruptly from its surroundings to a height of about 300 feet. It is 144km (90 miles) from Colombo and 42km (26 miles) form Kandy.

Among it's attractions you can find moats and ramparts surrounding Yapahuwa. Many traces of other ancient defenses may still be seen, while an ornamental stairway remains its biggest showpiece.

Sri Lanka Tourist board and Hotel Corporation guesthouses and other international class hotels offer a range of facilities. Travelers on a lower budget can find accommodation with private homeowners offering very basic facilities. Camping facilities are also available for outdoor enthusiasts.