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Sigiriya Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 2 days

Best Time: January - April Read More

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"Ancient Rock Fortress town "

Sigiriya Tourism

Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, Sigiriya serves as a fine example of ancient urban planning. Sigiriya is a significant site of the Cultural Triangle and perhaps Sri Lanka’s most iconic historical destination. The site, also known as Lion Rock, is recognized all over the world for the remains of the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress and its numerous enchanting and well-preserved attractions. The complex hydraulics system at the fortress enhances the site’s reputation as a beautiful example of classical city planning.

It is located in the Matale district in the centre near the town called Dambulla. According to history, this site was chosen by the king Kasyapa to serve as his new capital. There is a huge gateway shaped like a lion and the place derives its name from this gateway. This place served as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.

The fortress complex, constructed in the 5th century, includes attractions such as the royal gardens, one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, and the Mirror Wall, which is adorned with ancient graffiti. The highlight of the fortress is the colourful frescoes painted on the western face of the rock; it is believed that there were initially 500 such frescoes, but merely around 22 of them remain today. The gigantic Lion’s Paws greet visitors before the summit. At the peak are the ruins of the royal palace of King Kashyapa I, and 360-degree panoramas of the surrounding landscape. Sigiriya Museum at the foot of the rock has a plethora of artefacts related to Sigiriya on display for visitors seeking information regarding the site’s history.

Another interesting archaeological site located nearby is Pidurangala, which houses the remains of a cave temple complex. Hiking to the summit of Pidurangala Rock offers stunning views of the Sigiriya Rock. Visit Sigiriya and explore the opulence, might and sophistication of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka.

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Shopping in Sigiriya

Although Sigiriya does not have any significant shopping complexes or big-name stores, one can buy souvenirs such as wooden carvings, paintings and other handicrafts at some of the shops scattered in the vicinity of the site; such shops include Pethikada and Sigiriya Craft Village.

Nightlife in Sigiriya

Sigiriya has no worthy nightlife but the Sri Lanka ex servicemen's institute is worth a visit. Women travelling alone are advised against drinking here.

History of Sigiriya

Excavations at Sigiriya indicate that the area was occupied during the protohistoric times. During the 3rd century BC, Sigiriya was the site of a Buddhist monastery, evident from the rock shelters at the boulder gardens. King Kashyapa of the Anuradhapura kingdom fled to Sigiriya after capturing the throne and built his capital here in the 5th century AD. After his death, the site fell into decline and was again used as a Buddhist monastery.

In the 17th century, Sigiriya was a garrison for the kingdom of Kandy. The site was discovered and consequently excavated in the 19th century by the British.

Language of Sigiriya

Sinhala and Tamil are spoken mostly. However English is also a language of communication in Sigiriya.

Sigiriya Customs

Sigiriya has no special customs that need to be observed.

Religion of Sigiriya

Theravada Buddhism is the major religion of Sigiriya

Daily Budget for Sigiriya

The average daily budget of a tourist would depend on whether the travel is luxurious or budget travels. So a budget trip would cost 3000 - 4200 LKR each day.

Exchanging Money in Sigiriya

1 LKR = 0.46 INR.

Best Time to Visit Sigiriya

How to Reach Sigiriya

How to Reach Overview

One can enter Sigiriya by bus or car

How to reach Sigiriya by flight

Sigiriya has no airports per se, but there are buses, cars and even tuk tuks available from Colombo in case tourists wish to avail of this option.

How to reach Sigiriya by road

Cars and taxis are also an option but traffic is very slow

How to reach Sigiriya by train

Colombo is connected to Sigiriya by train.

How to reach Sigiriya by bus

Colombo and Dambulla are connected to Sigiriya with regular bus services.

Local transport in Sigiriya

The best way to get around Nuwara Eliya is on foot or tuk tuks.

Most frequently searched routes to Sigiriya

Route Name Distance Time
Colombo to Sigiriya 177 Km 4 Hours 34 Minutes
Kandy to Sigiriya 91 Km 2 hours 56 Mins
Dambulla to Sigiriya 17.2 km 25 mins

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Sigiriya Photos

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Sigiriya Rock (Lion Rock) - An Ancient Fort and UNESCO World Heritage
Pidurangala Vihara - Ancient Buddhist Temple in Matale District

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FAQs on Sigiriya

What is the best time to visit Sigiriya?

January to April is the best time to visit Sigiriya when the climate is moderate and suitable for day trips. May to August is the dry season in Sigiriya, and the place has a tropical climate with a humidity of 80% all year round. However, the rest of the year sees average weather as well with the highest temperature going to around 31 degrees Celsius. October-December are the wettest months, and it’s best to avoid Sigiriya anytime during these months.

If you're okay with braving a little rainfall, then the early monsoon months are a lovely time to visit as well. The Sigiriya rock has a height of around 660 ft, and it gives a fantastic view to the tourists in all of Sri Lanka. It’s a World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO in 1982, and a trip to Sri Lanka would be incomplete without a visit to this place.

However, the best time to visit Sigiriya Rock is at around 7 AM. It has the least number of the crowd during this hour of the day and also the light is good enough for clicking some of the great photographs. Or you can also plan your trip to Sigiriya late in the afternoon for the same reason. Avoiding weekends and public holidays are the best way to explore the rock that includes beautiful fresco art.

The off-season at Sigiriya is from October to December when the site witnesses heavy rains. Climbing the rock is relatively tricky during the monsoons; moreover, the beautiful views at the summit can become obscured by the clouds.

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What are the places near Sigiriya?

The top places near to Sigiriya are Kandy which is 75 km from Sigiriya, Anuradhapura which is located 55 km from Sigiriya, Colombo which is located 151 km from Sigiriya, Nuwara eliya which is located 112 km from Sigiriya, Galle which is located 219 km from Sigiriya

What are the things to do in Sigiriya?

The top things to do in Sigiriya are Sigiriya Rock, Pidurangala Rock , Elephant rides, Sigiriya Museum , Dambulla Cave Temple , Royal Gardens. You can see all the places to visit in Sigiriya here

What are the top hotels in Sigiriya?

The most popular hotels in Sigiriya are Sigiri Sithru Home Stay, The Otunna Guest House Sigiriya, Mango Tree Home Stay & Hostel, Asiri HomeStay, Sajee Nature Cottage, Piya Aliya Villa. You can see all the hotels in Sigiriya here

What is the best way to reach Sigiriya?

One can enter Sigiriya by bus or car
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What is the local food in Sigiriya?

While there are no restaurants at the fortress complex, a host of eateries are situated in the vicinity, such as Wijesiri Family Restaurant, Chooti Restaurant and Pradeep Restaurant. These restaurants primarily serve authentic and delicious Sri Lankan fare and Asian dishes. Head to Espresso Italiano for your daily dose of caffeine after completing the hike.

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