Your travel guide for Sri Lanka

Ambuluwawa Tower is a landmark situated on the outskirts of Gampola Town in Sri Lanka. Famous for its magnificent panoramic views, Ambuluwawa Tower has become an essential stop for those exploring the central region of Sri Lanka. In this travel guide, we'll explore more about this fascinating architectural marvel.

Historical Background

Built in the early 2000s, Ambuluwawa Tower is more than just a tourist attraction. It's a symbol of Sri Lanka's commitment to fostering religious harmony and unity. The initiative for its construction was spearheaded by the Central Environmental Authority and the local government of Gampola. The aim was to create a unique space where people from different religious backgrounds could come together in a spirit of coexistence and mutual respect.

The choice of location in Gampola is significant. Gampola was once the capital of Sri Lanka during the Gampola era, which lasted from 1341–1357 AD. The area has a rich history of religious diversity, making it an apt location for a multi-religious monument like the Ambuluwawa Tower.

The project was met with broad community support and participation. Religious leaders from Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, and Christian communities endorsed the project, further emphasizing its importance as a unifying symbol. Financial backing came not only from government funds but also from donations by local residents and international sponsors interested in promoting religious unity.

Over the years, the tower has become a subject of academic studies and a focal point during interfaith dialogues. Its establishment has encouraged other similar projects in the region, spotlighting Gampola as a model for religious tolerance and unity.

Ambuluwawa is a manifestation of Sri Lanka's rich, diverse cultural tapestry and a symbol of the island's ongoing efforts to promote peace, unity, and mutual respect among its various communities.

Details About the Ambuluwawa Tower

With a height of 55.5 meters, Ambuluwawa Tower is a cultural landmark that is quickly becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination. It is perched on top of Ambuluwawa Mountain, which has an elevation of 1,356 meters above sea level. When you reach the summit, you are rewarded with views that stretch across the central highlands and even as far as the coastline on a clear day.

A Ambuluwawa Tower in Sri Lanka seen from a short distance away
The view of from a short distance away.

The tower is made up of multiple levels, and each level is designed to serve as a place of worship for a different religious community. The first level is dedicated to Buddhism, the second to Hinduism, the third to Islam, and the fourth to Christianity. This multilevel design makes the tower a unique representation of Sri Lanka's diverse religious landscape.

Beyond its religious significance, Ambuluwawa Tower also serves as the centerpiece of a biodiversity complex. The surrounding area has been reforested with a variety of native plant species, contributing to local eco-conservation efforts. Interpretive boards provide information on the flora and fauna, making it an educational experience as well.

The climb to the top is part of the attraction. A spiraling ramp leads visitors upwards, offering increasingly expansive views of the landscape below. The final portion requires climbing a set of stairs. While the climb is somewhat challenging, handrails and resting spots are provided to make it manageable.

Architecture of the Ambuluwawa Tower

The Ambuluwawa Tower is a tall, cone-shaped structure. The tower's unique shape allows for a series of viewing platforms at various heights, each offering its own set of remarkable views. Various religious and cultural designs are engraved at certain parts of the tower as well.

Symbolic engravings at the base of the Ambuluwawa tower.
Symbolic religious and cultural engravings at the base of the tower.

One of its notable architectural features is the narrow staircase that spirals to the top. The challenge of ascending these stairs may not be suitable for those uncomfortable with heights, but it's part of what makes a visit to the tower an adventure.

The tower's location is also of architectural interest. Situated at the summit of Ambuluwawa Mountain, which rises 1,067 meters above the town of Gampola, the tower provides unparalleled views. This is because the mountain itself is isolated, without any nearby peaks to obstruct the line of sight. As a result, the tower can be seen from a great distance away.

Inside the tower, you'll find places of worship for four major religions practiced in Sri Lanka: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. Each space has its own distinct design, reflective of its respective religious tradition. This multi-religious aspect is also echoed in the tower's architectural style, which includes elements from various religious architectures.

The Climb to the Top

At the entrance, you'll find a parking area, a ticket booth, and several small shops offering refreshments. From there, it's a distance of 3km to the majestic Ambuluwawa Tower and the surrounding biodiversity complex. It is a smoothly paved road that winds gracefully through the Ambuluwawa Mountain. The journey is serene, often swept by a cool breeze, and offers some great scenic views. On either side of the road there are many different types of trees and well maintained shrubbery.

However the slope is at a very high angle. You can take your time and walk all the way to the top, but by the end you will be quite tired. Also, because of the slope, it is actually harder when climbing down. It's a good idea to hire a tuk-tuk at the entrance. They are modified for climbing such high slopes and will get you there quickly. Most people prefer to ask the tuk-tuk to stay for the ride back. Even though quite expensive for the short journey, it is probably the most effective way to get to the top.

The climb to the tower begins on the inside, with a large spiraling staircase. after getting a bit high, you come to a platform. Here, you can go outside and get a good view. From this point on, you can continue the climb, both on the inside and outside stairs. But after reaching a certain point, you can only continue the climb on the outside. As you go higher the staircase gets increasingly narrow. One of the tough things is that there is only one staircase, so people going up and people coming down have to cross paths.

The staircase and surrounding scenery at Ambuluwawa tower in Sri Lanka
The spiraling staircase.

As the staircase gets narrower its quite difficult for two people to pass each other. Near the very top of the tower staircase is so narrow that it's tight for even one person. However, when you reach the top, the climb is well worth it. With the panoramic scenery, and soaring wind and the rush of adrenaline, it feels like you are on top of the world.

Visitors climbing the Ambuluwawa Tower in Sri Lanka
Visitors near the highest point of the tower.

Exploring the Ambuluwawa Tower

Ambuluwawa Tower serves as an unparalleled vantage point due to its unique geographical location. Situated on the summit of Ambuluwawa Mountain, the tower rises high above the town of Gampola and offers unobstructed views in all directions. Since there are no neighboring peaks to hinder the view, this location provides an extraordinary opportunity to take in a wide range of landscapes.

Mountains seen from the top of Ambuluwawa Tower Sri Lanka
Surrounding mountains seen from the top of the tower.

From the tower's viewing platforms, one can see various prominent mountain ranges and landmarks. To the east, you can spot Piduruthalagala Mountain; to the south, the iconic Sri Pada or Adam's Peak is visible. Looking west, you will see Bible Rock, and to the north, the Knuckles Mountain Range stretches across the horizon. These platforms offer 360-degree views, encompassing forests, rivers, and towns, making it a comprehensive viewpoint.

A river flowing through the city as seen from the Ambuluwawa Tower Sri Lanka
A part of the Mahaveli River, the longest river in the country.

Visibility can sometimes be affected by mist, but when it clears, the views can be breathtaking. Even though the ascent may be challenging for some, especially those uncomfortable with heights, the reward at the top is well worth the effort. For photographers, nature enthusiasts, or anyone looking to capture the beauty of Sri Lanka's diverse landscapes, Ambuluwawa Tower stands as an unrivaled viewpoint.

The Biodiversity Complex

The Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Complex surrounds the Ambuluwawa Tower and serves as a sanctuary for many types of plant species. Initiated in 2009, this Biodiversity Complex is a pioneering conservation project in Sri Lanka. Designated as the fourth botanical garden in the country, it is home to approximately 200 different kinds of plants.

The garden is rich in plant life and is home to several types of animals. According to studies conducted by students from Peradeniya University, 14 types of soil have been identified in this area, providing a fertile ground for diverse flora and fauna. Rare Ayurvedic medicinal plants like 'Iraraja' and 'Sadaraja' are found here, as well as unique reptiles like the largest Ancatussa lizard have been identified.

Also, Ambuluwawa's unique geographical position makes it a ideal representation of Sri Lanka's varying climates. The mountain and surrounding forest, known as the Ambuluwawa ICC Forest Reservation, captures climatic characteristics that represent the entire country. From periodic rains to dry spells, the area experiences a three-fold climatic alignment, contributing to its rich biodiversity. Birds, lizards, and large geckos are frequently spotted, adding to the complex's ecological diversity.

There also several structures within the garden. These include four structures built for each of the four major religions in Sri Lanka. Several smaller towers and viewing platforms have also been constructed within the garden. Alongside these, the garden features tranquil ponds, stone pathways and a variety of landscaping elements crafted with rocks.

A religious structure at the Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Complex
A spiraling structure leading to a Buddha statue at the garden.
A smaller tower at Ambuluwawa, Sri Lanka
A smaller tower with a spiraling staircase.

This stunning botanical garden is an important part of the visit to the Ambuluwawa tower. Take your time to walk through the garden, visit the various structures and admire the surrounding views. It's a great idea to take relaxing stroll through garden after the thrilling climb of the tower.

Ticket Prices and Timings

The ticket prices for Ambuluwawa Tower in 2024 are as follows:

Ticket Price per Person

For locals, the entrance fee is 30 Rupees for children and 100 Rupees for adults. For foreigners, the ticket price is 1000 Rupees for children and 2000 Rupees for adults.

Ticket Price per Vehicle

If you are planning to take a private vehicle to the top of the mountain, you will be charged a fee based on the vehicle type.

  • Bike: 100 Rupees
  • Tuk-tuk: 150 Rupees
  • Car: 350 Rupees
  • Van: 350 Rupees
  • Bus: 500 Rupees


The tower is open from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays and from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekends.

Accessibility and Facilities

The tower is accessible by both public and private transportation. A large parking is available near the entrance at the base. Basic facilities like restrooms are available on site. There are also several snack shops near the entrance.

Near the entrance to the tower itself, there is a 'Java Lounge', a popular coffee shop chain in the country. Here, you can admire the stunning views and enjoy a nice coffee or even a meal after climbing the tower.

Location and How to Get There

Ambuluwawa Tower is located in the Gampola district of Sri Lanka. The most convenient way to get there is by car or taxi. It is approximately 120 kilometers from Colombo and 25 kilometers from Kandy.

From the parking it is a 3km journey uphill to the tower. You can walk, go in a motorbike or hire a tuk. If you have a driver, you can ask to be dropped at the tower. However if you are driving a vehicle yourself, parking may not be available at the top.

Best Time to Visit

The best months to visit Ambuluwawa Tower are from December to April. During this period, the weather is generally clear, making it ideal for outdoor activities. The morning is likely the best time of day to visit, as you'll have plenty of time to climb the tower and explore the surrounding garden before noon. Evenings can also be a great time as you'll be able to see a spectacular sunset from the top of the tower.

Tips and Advice

  • Be Prepared for a Challenging Climb: The spiral staircase can be difficult, especially for those uncomfortable with heights. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes and be cautious.
  • Check the Weather: Visibility varies depending on the weather conditions. Check the forecast before your visit to get the most out of your experience.
  • Arrive Early: Weekends can get crowded. Arriving early ensures you can enjoy the views without too much interruption.
  • Safety First: The top of the tower has low barriers. Be extra cautious when taking photos or leaning against railings.
  • Local and Tourist Fees: Be aware that ticket prices vary for locals and tourists. Make sure to carry appropriate identification to avail of any discounts.
  • Camera Gear: For photography enthusiasts, carry a lens that can capture wide-angle shots to take full advantage of the panoramic views.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: The area is a multi-religious center with a Buddhist Temple, a Hindu Temple, a Church, and a Mosque. Dress and behave respectfully.

Nearby Attractions

  1. Lankatilaka Vihara: Located 20 kilometers from Ambuluwawa, Lankatilaka is celebrated for its exquisite murals and traditional Sinhalese temple architecture.
  2. Gadaladeniya Temple: Just 21 kilometers from Ambuluwawa, this ancient temple stands out for its unique stone architecture and historical significance.
  3. Embekke Dewalaya: Located roughly 16 kilometers from Ambuluwawa, this temple is renowned for its intricate wooden carvings and is a significant site for Hindu and Buddhist devotees.
  4. Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya: Located about 20 kilometers from Ambuluwawa, these gardens are known for their wide collection of orchids and tropical plants.
  5. Kandy City: Situated approximately 25 kilometers away, Kandy is known for the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a revered Buddhist site, and the scenic Kandy Lake.

Visiting Ambuluwawa Tower offers more than just panoramic views; it presents an opportunity to engage with Sri Lanka's diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and religious practices. With its unique architecture and biodiversity complex, the tower stands as a compelling destination for both adventurers and peace-seekers. Whether you're a photographer, a nature lover, or someone simply looking for a fulfilling experience, Ambuluwawa Tower is a destination you should not miss.

Featured photo by Dmitrii Anikin
The Ambuluwawa Tower in Gampola Sri Lanka
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