Ambuluwawa is a weird place. It is a biodiversity and religious diversity center (it has a church, a mosque, a temple and pagoda) perched on top of a mountain just outside the city of Gampola in the Hill Country. It does not have its own Wikipedia entry, which by modern standards means it may not actually even exist.
A biodiversity and religious diversity center is interesting in its own right – if you’re into that sort of stuff but the real highlight is the tapering tower that rises out of the complex. The tower is at least five stories high and provides incredible views of the countryside below. Unlike a conventional tower where you would make your way to the top through an internal staircase the Ambuluwawa tower has an external staircase that snakes around the outside of tower from base to tip. Throwing occupational health and safety issues to the wind it has a concrete railing that is about knee height, more likely to assist you in falling off than preventing it, and the stairs are so narrow that they require you to shuffle sideways. Now I am slightly bigger than your average Sri Lankan so climbing to the top really tested my comfort with heights. I have a healthy relationship with heights but this was ridiculous. Sidling along up an uneven staircase with gale-force winds buffeting the tower I made it as far as my body would fit and my heart would permit me (I had one full loop left to go). Ramya made it all the way to the top and was not nearly as disturbed by the whole experience. Maybe she harnessed the power of religious diversity to give her strength, or maybe I just need more faith in Sri Lankan architecture.