Ambuluwawa-Sri Lanka’s Burj Khalifa

Collage of photos from Ambuluwawa tower in Sri Lanka. In the middle there is a photo of the Ambuluwawa tower. Surrounding it are photos of the breathtaking view from the tower.

Do you want to see the beauty of Sri Lanka from above the clouds? Are you ready to conquer your fear of heights? Or maybe unlock fears that you didn’t know you had. Ambuluwawa awaits you. Situated in Gampola, a nearby city to Kandy, Ambuluwawa has gained attention from all around the world recently. It even managed to impress the richest man on earth, Elon Musk himself.

What is Ambuluwawa?

The main attraction in Ambuluwawa is the tower that stands on top of the hill. It’s built in the shape of a granary and is called “Govi Jana Seya.” It means a stupa built to commemorate the farmers in Sri Lanka, who are the backbone of the Sri Lankan economy. The climb to the top of the tower is terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time. The 360-degree view that extends to the distant horizon from the tower is totally worth the climb.

Breathtaking view from the Ambuluwawa tower in Sri Lanka. It's all green until the horizon. Mountains covered with forests show the beauty of the hill country in Sri Lanka.
Breathtaking view from Ambuluwawa-Photo by Gihan P.

But Ambuluwawa is not just a scary tower. It is a biodiversity complex and a multi-religious center. 

It was founded by the late prime minister of Sri Lanka, Mr. D.M. Jayarathne. 

In the Ambuluwawa complex, you can find many rare plant species and animal species endemic to Sri Lanka. 

Not only that, you will be able to experience the coexistence of many religions in one place when you visit Ambuluwawa. Buddhist temples, Hindu kovils, Christian churches, and Islamic mosques are all situated close to each other, inviting everyone without any discrimination to visit this marvelous place and make memories that will last a lifetime.

History of Ambuluwawa

When we turn the pages in the history of Sri Lanka, we can find evidence that during the Gampola kingdom, Ambuluwawa served as a security checkpoint due to its high location.

It is also believed that the palace of the kings who ruled in Gampola Kingdom was located at the foot of the Ambuluwawa hill in a village that is nowadays called Godagama.

After the British conquered the hill country, they used the fertile land in Gampola to grow coffee. Unfortunately, all the historic monuments of Gampola Kingdom have been destroyed to make room for coffee cultivation.

In 1997, it was Mr. D.M. Jayarathne, who saw the potential of Ambuluwawa and decided to develop it into a biodiversity and multi-religious complex. 

He started to build a road to Ambuluwawa Hill in 1997, and that road led to the origin of yet another world-famous iconic tourist destination in Sri Lanka

The staircase to the Ambuluwawa tower in Sri Lanka.

Ambuluwawa-A scenery for the postcards

Think of Ambuluwawa as a real-life fusion between the ancient wonders of the world and the breathtaking landscapes that belong on postcards. 

It’s the kind of place that even your wildest dreams struggle to replicate. 

Imagine stepping into a realm where time stands still and every corner whispers tales of history, spirituality, and natural splendor.

Ambuluwawa Hill is a lonely warrior towering 3567 m above sea level. 

The Ambuluwawa tower, which is located on the top of the mountain, is only 55.54 m tall. But the height of the tower combined with the height of the hill will give you more than enough elevation to look at the distant horizon as far as the land ends. 

I’m not exaggerating! Locals say on a clear, sunny day, you can see the sea when looking from the Ambuluwawa tower.

Breathtaking view from the Ambuluwawa tower in Sri Lanka. It's all green until the horizon. Mountains covered with forests show the beauty of the hill country in Sri Lanka.
It looks like a piece of heaven. Isn't it? - Photo by Kanishka Madusanka on Unsplash

The view from Ambuluwawa is like a meditation on one’s eyes. Imagine evergreen mountain ranges and valleys, lonely rocks, distant waterfalls, and clear blue streams of water running through the valleys under the blue sky. 

It really looks like a scene straight out of a fairytale.

Ambuluwawa’s biodiversity complex is a symphony of life. You can lose yourself in the melodies of exotic birds, the vibrant colors of tropical flora, and the peaceful rhythm of nature’s heartbeat. 

It’s a playground for hikers, birdwatchers, and anyone seeking to reconnect with the raw beauty of our planet.

Ambuluwawa-A tower that reaches for the clouds

A photo of Ambuluwawa tower in Sri Lanka, taken from the bottom of it
Don't forget that this tower stands on the top of a hill! It's scarier than it looks. - Photo by Mky Moody on Unsplash

Ambuluwawa Tower is an architectural marvel.

It is built in such a way that as you go higher, the tower gets narrower. 

It gets narrow to the point where two people can’t pass on the staircase. There are little caves built for one person to scooch in so the other person can pass. 

This is the main factor behind the thrilling experience of climbing the tower. 

On top, you feel like there’s only you and the clouds. So this is definitely not a place for those who are afraid of heights.

Did you know?

You will be able to experience a mind-blowing cable car experience for the first time in Sri Lanka from Ambuluwawa in the near future.

According to the creator of this complex, Mr. D.M. Jayarathna, each part of the tower has a meaning.

The first part of the tower is in the shape of a granary, which symbolizes the paddy farmers in Sri Lanka.

The second part is in the shape of a pumpkin, which symbolizes the vegetable farmers in Sri Lanka.

The third part of the tower is in the shape of a cocoa fruit to symbolize the fruit farmers in Sri Lanka.

Inside the fourth part, there is a casket with “Sarwakgna Dhathu.” Items to remember, Lord Buddha.

You can visit Ambuluwawa on the way to Kandy to see the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

Have you read my previous article on “7 things to know before visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic”? I recommend reading it before visiting Dalada Maligawa.

Helpful tips for visitors to Ambuluwawa

  • Bring enough water.
  • Don’t forget to visit the temples and the viewing platform as well.
  • Visit Ambuluwawa Tower early in the morning to avoid crowds (the complex opens at 8:30 a.m.).
  • Avoid weekends and holidays because the tower is usually crowded on these days.
  • If you’re taking the tuk-tuk, ask your driver to drop you off at the entrance of the tower, not at the ticket office, which is 2.5 km (1.5 mi) from the entrance.
Breathtaking view from the Ambuluwawa tower in Sri Lanka
More snaps from the tower - Photo by Gihan P.
  • Do not lean to take pictures from the tower.
  • When you go down the Ambuluwawa hill after climbing the tower, be careful of the steep slope. Especially if you are driving your own vehicle.
  • The ticket price for a foreign adult is 2000 LKR. For a kid, it’ll be half the price of an adult. If you are sure that you will not enjoy this kind of experience, save this money. There are so many places to visit and so many activities to do in Sri Lanka where you can spend money on something that you think you will enjoy.

Helpful sites:

Ambuluwawa official website: You can book your tickets and get the bearings of the location by checking the map on the official website of Ambuluwawa.

So, what do you think? Will you test your fear of heights by climbing Ambuluwawa? Let me know in the comments. If you have already visited Ambuluwawa, share your thoughts about your experience in the comments too.

I’ll meet you with another interesting article about Sri Lanka.

 Until then, I say goodbye!

නැවත හමුවෙමු❤️ (Newatha hamuwemu = Let’s meet again)

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