Yapahuwa Rock Fortress
Yapahuwa Rock Fortress
4.5
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Duration: 1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
Top ways to experience Yapahuwa Rock Fortress
The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
1 within 6 miles

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles113 reviews
Excellent
67
Very good
40
Average
6
Poor
0
Terrible
0

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Family
The Fortress is spectacular. We enjoyed the climb which had steep steps up-to a point. There is also a side path which is easier but then you would miss climbing the ancient steps . At 3.30 pm it was shady and made it easier. The cave temple also has 800 year old paintings. The surrounding garden also has wall relics to see.
Written April 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sri Lanka Driver
Colombo, Sri Lanka
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018 • Business
This is a great historical place with many ancient ruins remain. If you love historical places and ancient cities this is a good place to visit. You can see remaining parts of stone palace. This is amazing. On top of the rock you can see nice view of the area.
Written June 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Seevali D
Colombo, Sri Lanka
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Friends
My wife and I visited Yapahuwa on 5th January 2018, to see this ephemeral city that was the capital of Sri Lanka for a mere 12 years. Today, Yapahuwa is a unique location of historic splendour, with its majestic rock carvings on either side of the stone stairway leading to what was the pavilion where the sacred tooth relic was kept. I wore good walking shoes and carried a sun-hat. We visited the site early morning to avoid the noon time heat and humidity. There is no entry fee for locals and residents while the foreigners are charged a 4 USD (Rs. 620) fee.
King Buwanekabahu who inherited the kingdom in 1272AD established his capital at Yapahuwa and built this rock fortress not only to defend the Sinhalese kingdom from the Indian Army garrisoned at Polonnaruwa but also for his own safety. He also moved the Buddha’s sacred tooth relic and installed it in a building at the top of the rock to safeguard it from the enemy, for it was the belief that whoever had the tooth relic was the King. However, after Buwanekabahu’s untimely demise in 1284, South Indians captured Yapahuwa and took away the tooth relic to India. Thereafter Yapahuwa was largely abandoned but for some ascetic Buddhist monks. To complete the history, the tooth relic was recovered later by his successor after negotiations with the Indian King and brought back to Sri Lanka.
We entered the protected compound through the south gate after passing the ticket counter. We went past the moat and a tall outer wall embankment in semi-circular pattern about 11 km long that encircled and safeguarded the city. At the end of the semicircle is the steep Yapahuwa rock itself. As I entered through the wide embankment of the fortress, I could not help being fascinated by the 100 metre tall rock that looms and abruptly rises above the surrounding plains. We walked along neatly kept grounds for about 150 metres to the inner wall within which was the king’s palace and what would have been his council rooms for the war cabinet.
The highlight of the visit was the sprawling, majestic and imposing stairway leading to the sanctum of the sacred tooth. There are three flights of stairs. The damaged lowest stairway had been restored with concrete steps while the upper two stairways are the originals, built of stone. The first two staircases take you to a pavements of flat areas supported by retaining walls built of stone slabs. The second staircase is not only steep at about 70 degrees but also narrow making you place your feet sideways - presumably to make it difficult for the enemy to get a foothold on during an attack. Looking down from here I took a few photographs of the ruins of King Buwanekabahu’s palace, quite close to the bottom of the first staircase.
The third stairway is awe inspiring in its beauty and breath-taking to look at. The steps are wider too. Unlike the other two staircases both sides of this one are ornately carved with various figures – young girls holding a pot to welcome you, the head and trunk of elephant and the famed Yapahuwa Lion which appeared in one of the currency notes. The sculpture displayed in these figures are amazing and spectacular.
Crossing the doorway at the top of the staircase you enter the top plateau which again is supported by a retaining wall built of stone slabs. Here I gazed at the ruins of the pavilion of the sacred tooth. The columns in the doorway too are magnificently decorated. The view of the surroundings from here, from so high up, is breath-taking, miles and miles of forest and fields in all directions!
Turn left and follow the path to the top of the rock. I went only half-way and did not attempt to climb this as it was far too steep for me. On the way back we visited the adjoining temple too dating back to the 13th century and situated just outside the innermost wall of the city.
It was a tiring climb but very informative, awe inspiring and educative.
Written February 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Randil H
Horana, Sri Lanka
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Family
Yapahuwa Rock Fortress is a huge rock outcrop rising from the dry plains of north western Sri Lanka.This was the seat of governance and the shrine of the sacred tooth relic of Buddha in the 13th century.The place is best known for its number of rock carvings, the most notable being a chinese styled lion carved out of solid rock. The access to the top of the rock begins with a flight of steps which are approximately at an angle of 70 degrees! The path to the top of the 400 ft high rock begins here. The climb starts gradual and the gradient increases as it reaches the top. The climb is a tiring exercise but the stunning view of surrounding countryside will make you soon forget it.You won't find a lot of people there. There were ruins of many an ancient building, some of which could be identified as Stupas.Once you climb down from the rock on your way back, you must visit the museum which contains many valuable artifacts, which are on permanent display. This is one of the few places admire the fine, artistic skills of the ancient stone craftsmen.
Written December 17, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

zapumal
Singapore
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Family
Amazing ancient fortess with beautiful staircase leading to the palace in ruins. A nice rock climb and beautiful view of the surroundings at the top. Make sure to check out the amazing view and the stupa at the top.
Written April 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

carlos f
Suzhou, China
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Family
It is not one of the Ancient Cities attractions but it is worth to visit. It is on the way from Colombo to Anuradhapura so is not a great deviation. It is a solid monolithic rock of a little more of 100 meters tall covered by nice vegetation, sometimes like a small jungle. At the middle of the climbing there are the rest of what was to be a fortress which are very nice and you can take good picture. You climb thru stairs made of stone not difficult but the steps are higher than normal. From there there are no more stairs and you have to climb by you own means. Not very difficult but you need to take care. Also from this point you will be able to see dozens of monkeys which are very peaceful and friendly, at least to me and my daughter. Once you get to the top you will find a structure which looks like an old Stupa(Dagoba in Sri Lanka). Then you are able to admire the beautiful landscape; rice fields, small lakes, small villages, etc. Nice pictures can be taken.
Written March 6, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sherry_dissa
Colombo, Sri Lanka
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Family
That is a most beautiful rock fortress in sri lanka.that called little sigiriya.there are lot of ancient ruins and also most beautiful place arround you.
Written July 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

worldnomad_01
Los Angeles, CA
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018
Capital of Sri Lanka for about 10 years at the end of the 13th century, Yapahuwa was a palace and a fortress built on a 90 meter tall boulder, hence a lot of steps and climbing to be done nowadays to see the remains of its past glory. Not much is left: a few caves at the bottom with Buddhist frescoes and statues, a most impressive stone staircase, with lions and apsaras carved on the sides and the remains of the stupa on the top, which also offers nice views of the surrounding area. It was mid afternoon when we visited and, with the exception of a monk at the entrance of the premises, there was nobody else, weather was good, it was quiet - which all added to mystery and the beauty of the place...
Written December 4, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patricia S
Mombasa, Kenya
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2016 • Family
Lovely and 'wild' - we were the only tourists there. It's quite a hike but magnificent views and everyone local that we met was very friendly. It's quite amazing to have the dense bush, ancient ruins and majestic rock all together.
Written October 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David F
Sydney, Australia
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2016 • Couples
Yapahuwa. is' really interesting and a good walk up the many steps to the top of the rock. The climb to the top through the trees with few steps was not anticipated but great. There are very steep steps which could be very dangerous. Entry fee is also steep at 1000 rupee per person.
Written September 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 76
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

FlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars