This paper addresses the inverse dynamics of three degrees of freedom (DOF) U-shaped planar parallel manipulator having three legs consisting of prismatic-prismatic-revolute (PPR) joint arrangement in which each leg has one active prismatic joint. This paper also proposes a proportional-derivative (PD) like adaptive sliding mode control combined with a disturbance observer for the motion control of the proposed manipulator. Using this control scheme, the controlled robotic manipulator is transformed into decoupled dynamics, and thus the motion performance is very convenient to quantify. Based on Lyapunov like argument the global asymptotic stability of the proposed closed loop system is proved. Real time experiments performed on the in-house fabricated prototype of the proposed manipulator are provided to substantiate the effectiveness and the improved performance of the proposed controller. The proposed controller performances are also compared with traditional controllers such as proportional integral derivative (PID) controller, sliding mode controller (SMC) and computed torque controller (CTC) © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.