In celebration of my impending divorce, I decided to go on a solo day trip. Sri Lanka has so many beautiful places to see, so many hidden gems that only a few have seen, I am determined to explore as much as I can, of this beautiful island of ours!
One place I’ve always wanted to go to is “Yapahuwa”. In historical times, Yapahuwa was home to the kingdom’s capital. One of the capitals, anyway! The most popular, most visited, and most archaeologically rich sites are Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. But Yapahuwa is truly a hidden gem! It doesn’t receive many visitors and I suppose, it’s a good thing in a way. As a result, it is not commercialised, there are no hawkers to avoid, and the peace and tranquillity of the place is preserved.
Yapahuwa Lion Staircase
This is the archaeological remnant I fell in love with, that made me want to go here for the longest time!
I left home at 8AM when I should have left at 4AM! Reason? Was drinking with friends and obviously was too drunk to wake up on time! Lol! So, left at 8AM, and I took a sub route through Giriulla – Kurunegala – Padeniya – Maho – Yapahuwa, which is roughly about 150-160KM. On the way, I passed a board that said, “To Deduru Oya Reservoir”. So I did a U-Turn and went inland about 8-10 KMs.
There are boards that direct you all the way up to the reservoir. The drive is along this narrow tarred-in-places-not-in-others road that’s deserted 90% of the time. At the end of the road, the road ascends on to the bund and the sight that welcomes you, is simply breathtaking!
Deduru Oya Reservoir
Deduru Oya Reservoir
Delays in leaving Colombo and detours along the way notwithstanding, I was able to reach Yapahuwa by about 12.30. My advice – leave earlier! It’s difficult climbing up the stone steps in the heat. But the heat, the humidity and the hot steps are definitely worth the view you’re greeted with once you’re at the top! Loved it!
Yapahuwa – View from the top
To give you some perspective, this is what the steps look like.
I actually stood at the foot of the steps, looking up, trying to muster the courage to take them steps on, in the heat! By now you must have realised, I REALLY HATE THE HEAT.
So some final tips:
- Leave early! Journey should take you about 3 hours, but leave room for stopping for tea or a cool drink somewhere obscure, or even to have a smoke and stretch the feet. So aim to reach Yapahuwa between 9 & 10 for maximum climbing comfort.
- You can spend anything between 2-5 hours there depending on the size of your group, and how much walking around you do. Hence why I suggest you leave early and reach there early to be able to walk around the grounds.
- Take your own food and water as there are no food stalls and other touristy spots to go to for refreshments.
- This is an active Temple, so take care to cover your arms and legs. I suggest long pants for women instead of wraparounds and skirts as it’s difficult climbing up while hitching up your skirt. Trust me! Lol
For the return journey, I chose to take another route. Maho – Nikeweratiya – Pahala Mawathagama – Andigama – Pallama – Bangadeniya – Chilaw – Negombo – Colombo. I was back in Colombo before sunset that day!
All in all, I drove a total of about 360KM, for a total of about 9 hours. And I had a hangover to boot! 😀
It’s an experience I’d recommend to ANYONE! Safe to say, I’m addicted. I’m definitely going to be doing this again.
For more pics, go to https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153843672210021.1073741838.596840020&type=1&l=e5661721bb
NEXT STOP: Kuragala