Back in the 13th century a magnificent palace and a sacred temple stood high against a massive granite rock rising 100m from the wooded plains below. Built to keep the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha safe from marauding invaders, this citadel marked the ancient capital of Yapahuwa. In this safe haven, King Buvenekabahu 1 guarded the sacred relic for 11 years, and upon his demise the kingdom was abandoned. The Buddhist monastery set up on the site, still survives guarding its ruins for her visitors of today. A steep stone staircase scaling the rock face leads up to the ancient temple. Pausing at a plateau to offer a breathtaking view, it carries on upwards, becoming more ornate with every step. The well preserved guard-stones continue to impress and the beautifully carved stone lions still stand proud. The temple too, displays the mastery of ancient craftsman in the intricate rock carvings of animals, dancers and musicians. Equally famed is the ornate golden key, which opens up the temple as it did for faithful pilgrims to Yapahuwa at the height of her Kingdom.

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