An adventurous climb, archeological attractions, breathtaking views up the rock, and many things to do around-Sigiriya has to offer you a lot! So, let’s cover up everything about this world heritage site for you.
Sigiriya (සීගිරිය) is located in the northern Matale District of the Central Province of Sri Lanka. This is a world-famous destination for travelers, primarily due to the setting of the well-renowned ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress and its mysterious technology, which is the eighth wonder of the world and also a world heritage. Sigiriya holds a great historical significance that highlights the culture of Ceylon.
Read along, as we have simply everything you need to know about Sigiriya!
What Is Sigiriya?
Sigiriya (see-gi-ri-ya – සීගිරිය), also known as Sigiriya Lion Rock or Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress, is one of the most remarkable travel destinations in Sri Lanka, distinguished as a world heritage site by UNESCO and declared the eighth wonder of the world. This site is located in the northern Matale District, close to the town of Dambulla in the Central Province of Sri Lanka.
It is a place of historical and archaeological importance overlooked by a giant column of rock, approximately 590 feet in height. Sigiriya is dominated by a verdant, dense forest surrounding the entire heritage site. You can see the remains of a ruined palace, surrounded by an expansive network of ramparts, extensive gardens, canals, ponds, alleys, and water gardens, as soon as you enter this site.
Sigiriya rock plateau is formed from the magma of an extinct volcano, and history says there was a palace up the Sigiriya rock. However, it is still astonishing to understand the archeological and irrigation skills of ancient Sri Lankan citizens who contributed to building this place. According to archeologists, this site is a thoughtful combination of planned symmetry and asymmetry, recreating both natural and geometric forms.
A Little Bit From The History Of Sigiriya…
The history of Sigiriya dates back to the 3rd century BC when a Buddhist monastery had been built at the Sigiriya rock fortress. Thirty cave shelters with drip ledges that sheltered monks have been recognized at the bottom of the great rock.
All the significant arrangements found today in Sigiriya have been pitched during the rule of King Kasyapa, who decided to make Sigiriya the heart of the administration. Roman and Indian pottery, coins, and the relationship to Persian styles in designing pleasure gardens demonstrate cultural and commercial connections with foreign countries during this short period.
More Historical Facts…
In the 6th and 7th centuries AD, additional shrines were constructed. But thereafter, Sigiriya was utterly deserted until the 19th century, when it was operated as a military outpost of the Kandyan kings.
Later in 1832, a British military officer, Jonathan Forbes, once again carried Sigiriya back in a historical direction. In 1894, the Archaeological Department of Sri lanka initiated archaeological actions in Sigiriya. Almost a century later, in 1982, the Central Cultural Fund overtook the duty, continuing with great success until now.
The Incredible Experience You Could Get At Sigiriya
Sigiriya is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka if you have a passion for appreciating archeology and also indulge in an adventurous trek all the way up to a huge rock. Starting from the entrance, you’ll have plenty of things to enjoy until you reach the rock and beyond. You can visit the massive royal gardens, water gardens, fortifications, etc.
You’ll have to take a pretty adventurous hike up the rock by climbing about 1200 steps. And on the top, you’ll find the ruins of an ancient palace while you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding. This site is a paradise if you are a dedicated photographer, and you can catch the gorgeous sunset from the top of the rock before you climb back down, depending on the time.
Things you should see (not to miss out) within site include:
- Water gardens
- Boulder gardens
- Terraced gardens
- Mirror Wall
- Iconic Sirigiya Frescoes
- Lion staircase (Giant rock lion paws)
- Sky Palace
- The Summit
- Sigiriya Archeological Museum
More Things To Explore At Sigiriya…
Your pleasure doesn’t come to an end from this world heritage site since you’ve got plenty of other things to enjoy around Sigiriya. Thus, it would be best if you could dedicate more than two days of your Sri Lankan itinerary entirely to this destination. After climbing Sigiriya rock, you can also explore the neighboring Pidurangala rock.
In addition, you could even go sightseeing out to the countryside on bicycles or enjoy a hot air balloon ride if you visit this place in November. A plethora of luxury and affordable accommodations are accessible around Sigiriya, and you could even go night camping at designated camping sites.
Important Things And Other Safety And Security Tips You Should Be Aware Of When Visiting Sigiriya
Sigiriya is a very safe zone to travel to, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind when visiting this place. The staircase ascends to the Sigiriya rock and is secured with railings, but we do not recommend taking your infants or kids on this hike. And, since you will climb up to a height of about 600 feet, it is also recommended to confine yourself to the base if you are pregnant.
Moreover, it is essential that you pay attention to your health and ensures that you are one hundred percent fit enough to climb the rock. Since the climate in Sigiriya is relatively humid and sunny, it is important that you take proper measures to protect your skin and hair from the harsh sun rays. Take enough water with you as you will find no place to obtain drinking water on top of the rock.
Pay attention to the signs put up by the administration (especially when you click pictures), as it is crucial to respect their rules since Sigiriya is a world heritage site. In addition, you should also be careful not to disturb the wasps around this area, ensuring that you trek quietly and avoid aggressive gestures. Be on your best behavior and bring back anything that you take up to the rock (water bottles, food packets, etc.).
How Can You Get To Sigiriya?
You can use your private or public transport to reach Sigiriya. It will take anywhere from 3-4 hours to travel to Sigiriya from the capital city Colombo, while you’ll be able to get there within 2 ½- 3 hours from Kandy. You can reach the site directly if you are traveling by private vehicle.
But, if you are taking the bus, you’ll have to take about a 5-10 minute walk to the first ticket counter. However, the closest railway station to Sigiriya is Habarana, and from there, you will have to take a tuk-tuk or a taxi to Sigiriya. There’s only one train that runs back and forth daily, which could make things inconvenient unless you schedule your trip accordingly.
So, our best suggestion would be to travel by a private vehicle or by bus (if you are on a budget). If not, you can also arrange a guided tour or domestic air service to take you to the destination after contacting the relevant service providers.
Other Attractions Near Sigiriya That Might Interest You
After visiting Sigiriya, the next closest place to visit is Pidurangala rock. You could also visit Dambulla Cave Temple, The Na Forest, and the rose quartz hill. In addition, do not miss out on exploring these places as well:
- Minneriya National Park
- Kaudulla National Park
- Spice gardens
You can also relish the traditional Sri Lankan food from many small restaurants around Sigiriya and enjoy the luxury of an Ayurvedic spa at an upscale hotel. Moreover, you could also take a detour and visit the amazing places that Kandy has to offer you!
Sigiriya Is A Place Visiting At Least Once In Your Lifetime!
The eighth wonder of the world, Sigiriya, will add so many eternal memories to your travel diary. This is a significant travel destination in Sri Lanka that you should prioritize visiting during your stay on this beautiful island. So, we hope to hear from you- share your ideas and comment below your experiences if you visit this wonderful site.