The Ancient Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka

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Yapahuwa – The Ancient Rock Fortress

Yapahuwa is one of Sri Lankan’s ancient capital. It is located about 130 kilometres from Colombo in the Kurunegala district, the way Kurunegala Anuradapura road.

 Yapahuwa was the kindom of king Buwanekabahu 1st. during the period of political instability, he moved his capital to yapahuwa in 1272 B.C. Yapahuwa city was circular in plan with two city walls and surrounding moats. Yapahuwa is known as Sundaragiri pavuwa in 3rd century B.C. during the reign of king Devanampiyathissa. The book of Dalada Pujawaliya yapahuwa is known as ‘Ayo Parwatha’.

The  Stair Case 

There is a staircase with carvings and statues along the side for the Yapahuwa Kindem. Three flights of steps have been connected to enter the building of the rock.  The centre part of the staircase would have been wooden. It was removable during an enemy attack. But today it has been restored with brick steps. The railing of the stairway is made of boxes becoming smaller and smaller in size reaching the top

 When king Buwanekabahu moved the   Capital, he had taken the Sacred tooth relic. He has built a temple for this situation. The square platform on the rock is identified as the temple of the tooth. There is a stone staircase leading to the remains of the temple of the tooth.

Features of the fortress

There is the most impressive feature of the fortress. It is embellished with a beautiful frieze of musicians, drummers, and dancers. The way half up to the rock there is well-preserved grindstones and animal structures. It is known as the gajasingha. It means is a lion. Yapahuwa is also the home to Sri Lanka first and only lion sculpture with Chinese features.

Museum of yapahuwa

There is a small museum at the foot of the rock. It contains various antiquities and statues. King buwanekabahu 1st had some contacts with Chia at that period because there are some Chinees pottery and coins collections in this museum. There is a large and ornate golden key is in the museum. After the death of king Buwanekabahu 1st, this fortress fell into obscurity and was eventually abandoned.

  Map of yapahuwa

The Sigiriya rock in Sri Lanka is a wonder of the world

Sigiriya -Location

Sigiriya is an ancient palace on top of a rock.  It is a UNESCO listed world heritage site. The rock was called Sinhagiri, later came to be known as Sigiriya.

The entrance to the palace is shaped like a lions mouth. Sigiriya is located in the northern Matale district. It is near the town of Dambulla There are 24 kilometres away from Dambulla town.

king kashyapa

According to the ancient Sri Lanka chronicle, The Chulawamsa this site was selected by king kashyapa. king kashyapa who had murdered his father king dathusena , build the rock fortress as a hiding palace. So that he is safe from his brother Moggallana. king kashyapa build his palace on top of this rock and decorated it. It was the capital of Sri Lanka, the period of 477- 495 A.D.Sigiriya is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning.

Sigiriya rock

Sigiriya is famous as the lion’s rock. On the large terrace near the top of the rock are two huge lion paws, the remains of an enormous loin shaped entrance.

Visitors would have had to enter between its paws and climb up through its mouth to reach its peak.

Sigiriya Frescoes

Sigiriya is world-famous because of the wonderful Sigiriya Frescoes The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock. An area is 140 meters long and 40 meters high. There were references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. but today there are only 22 of the great artworks now remain. There are various ladies in this painting. Some believe they are the queens of king Kashyap. Some say they are going to offer flowers to the temple near the rock and some say they are Apsara. There are two categories of these women. some of them are very colourful and others are dark coloured. It is said that it means vidgulatha and megalithic. That woman taking flowers in their hand. There are a variety of flower decorations on their head. Some ladies have crowns with gems. While others contended that they are Mahayana deities such as Tara and her attendants. These frescoes are classified as in the Anuradhapura period. These paintings have a close resemblance to paintings seen in the Ajanta cave painting in India.

Sigiriya mirror wall

Sigiriya mirror wall was made of brick masa nary and covered in high polished. There is Sigiri kurutu gee (poems) on this wall.  Visitors from more than a thousand years ago wrote on the wall their impressions of the paintings. There are peoples’ impressions and thoughts of Sigiriya is on this poem.  People all of the type which, arrived Sigiriya have written on this wall Some poems are about the Sigiri ladies on frescoes. There are more than 700 poems amongst this graffiti. The poems were written in very neat and precise lettering.  This is the only evidence of poetry pound in the Anuradhapura period.

Sigiriya  water gardens

There are three main gardens in Sigiriya. The first garden consists of a plot surrounded by water. The second contains two long deep pools set on either side of the path. There are under groundwater supply methods for this pool. Attesting to the ingenuity of the ancient hydraulic engineers, some of the fountains of the garden are still in working order.

Video about Sigiriya

Sigiriya Map


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