Sigiriya Rock is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most identifiable landmark. It's a favourite amongst our clients and one to visit on any trip to the country.
For many, a trip to Sigiriya Sri Lanka is one of the highlights of their time in this beautiful country. From its stunning views of the jungle and its magnificent rock fortress to its Buddhist temples and relaxed village culture, Sigiriya provides a fascinating insight into Sri Lankan life. Discover everything you need to know about visiting Sigiriya with our comprehensive guide – from attractions to travel tips, let us show you the best of Sigiriya.
The highlights of Sigiriya
Sigiriya is best known for its magnificent rock fortress – a 5th-century palace built atop an ancient volcanic plug. The ruins are a symbol of the country’s past, and visitors visit to marvel at the detailed frescoes, stairways, and lower ruins that remain intact. Lion’s Rock – a single mammoth-sized block – is one of the most iconic rocks of the region, rising over 200 meters in height. It’s here that you’ll also find the entrance to Sigiriya Fort and Palace as well as incredible views over its surrounding forest terrain. Other attractions in Sigiriya include Pidurangala Rock – offering breathtaking but alternate views from Lion’s Rock – and also Minneriya National Park which is home to wild elephants and other diverse wildlife, numerous historic temples, hot springs, waterfalls and more.
Suffice to say, Sigiriya is a must-see for anyone visiting Sri Lanka. Even those with only limited time should ensure they get to experience the marvel. Sigiriya is best visited between December and February when rain is relatively low and temperatures remain pleasant.
The history of Sigiriya
Dating back to the 5th century, Sigiriya and its surroundings were once the home of King Kassapa I and his palace, surrounded by a vast area known as the ‘Royal Gardens’. Historians believe that it was an ancient fortress, containing a complex network of defensive walls and a 200-metre tall system of steps to gain access from the ground to the summit. The most iconic feature of this area is the Lion’s Rock – an impressive stone structure carved into the shape of a lion, perched atop the cliffs overlooking the forests below.
UNESCO recognized Sigiriya as a world heritage site in 1982 and it remains one of the most popular sites in Sri Lanka. Tourists flock from all around the world to see the incredible view from atop Lion’s Rock, explore ancient history and appreciate the intricate architecture and sculptures of Kassapa I’s palace. The city itself is known to have been home to a monastery in its early years, and visitors may also choose to explore nearby forest reserves.
Sri Lanka is a great destination for those who wish to experience the best of luxury travel. Sigiriya is also renowned for its Mirror Wall – an impressive display of polished rock that reflects your image, and which is also covered in interesting ancient graffiti. Both history and culture aficionados will love it.
Sigiriya Rock gives visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle of the ancient kings that once lived there and also showcases remarkable engineering achievements such as the Water Gardens – a series of pools, fountains and irrigation systems. For those looking to experience the breathtaking landscape of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya Rock offers stunning views of its lush tropical forests and winding rivers. There are also several hiking trails available which take you to the top of the rock, allowing you to fully enjoy nature’s beauty.
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Planning your trip to Sigiriya
Planning a trip to Sigiriya doesn’t have to be complicated. The most important things to consider are finding the best route and arranging the best properties to stay at. We always suggest to our clients that they should hire a private driver and guide in Sri Lanka. It makes the experience that much more pleasant and trying to go it alone is often quite complex. Our guides all have excellent knowledge of the whole country but we can also ensure that a dedicated and expert guide is available for your tour of Sigiriya.
Where to combine with Sigiriya
Sigiriya is conveniently located near some of Sri Lanka’s other popular tourist attractions, making it a great place to stay while visiting the country. Combining a few days in Sigiriya with other destinations such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa or Kandy is an excellent idea. This way you can experience multiple cultural and historical interests throughout your trip, creating an unforgettable journey.
Many of our clients will start with the capital Colombo before heading to Sigiriya. Then it’s onward to the south to visit either Yala National Park or Udawalawe National Park.
Nearby Sigiriya, you can continue your Sri Lanka journey by visiting Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa, two neighbouring cities with monuments that create a set of agricultural technology that is unique and highly sophisticated. A visit to the city of Kandy makes a good stopping point too where one can experience beautiful sceneries and cultural activities across Sri Lankan culture.