A guide to Sigiriya & Pidurangala Rock

Wanna visit an ancient city that sits on a massive rock surrounded by jungle? If yes keep reading! Sigiriya Rock was chosen by King Kashyapa in 477 to be the home of his new capital. On the top of this enormous rock that pokes out of the jungle, he built his palace and halfway up he built the gateway in the form of a massive lion giving it its name, Sinhagiri (Lion Rock)


The city on the rock was abandoned after the king’s death and it was later used as a Buddhist monastery up until the 14th century. Today it is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a very popular stopping point for visitors to Sri Lanka.


When you arrive in Sigiriya you will have the option of, or can choose to do both Pidurangala Rock and Lion Rock.


Pidurangala Rock is located just a few kilometres from Lion rock and offers hikers panoramic views of the lush forests and Lion Rock itself. If you’re a lover of breathtaking views, sunrises or want that perfect Instagram picture you will first want to hike up Pidurangala Rock. Pidurangala Rock is also a popular option for those wanting to witness Lion Rock but who are on a tight budget and have decided they don’t want to pay the $30USD entrance fee to Lion Rock.


If you are deciding to hike up Pidurangala Rock I recommend doing so for sunrise and after head over to Lion Rock to beat the crowds. Arriving in Sigiriya the evening before you want to visit will allow you time to organise your visits. There are many accommodation options to cater to everyone's need and plenty of good options for food locally. Organise a tuk-tuk with your accommodation hosts or simply with a local tuk-tuk driver to collect you early, really early, before sunrise early the next morning!


The following morning you will be collected from your accommodation and dropped to the base of Pidurangala Rock. Pass through the temple and pay the entrance fee which is approximately $3 USD and then being your climb up the rock. Having a torch with you could come in handy as it will still be dark as you are climbing up the rock or alternatively use the torch on your phone. The climb isn’t technical or difficult but it is strenuous. You climb approximately 1200 hundred steps! Remember to bring water and your camera. Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the forest, Lion Rock and some mountains in the background. Sit back, rehydrate and catch your breath as you wait for the sun to rise.


Once the sun has risen and you have finished your photoshoot descend the way you went up. If you are planning on visiting Lion Rock jump in a tuk-tuk outside the temple at the base or walk 20 minutes to arrive there.