It is the rock fortress the world sometimes refers to as the Eighth Wonder. Sigiriya rock towering 200m rises above the thick jungle in the central plains of Sri Lanka. Its caves sheltered Buddhist monastic monks during the 3rd century. It was made into the impressive fortress by King Kashyapa in the 5th century, who sought protection from enemy forces. It is the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. A colossal lion figure stood at the entrance leading up to galleries and staircases, of which, only the paws remain. The top of the rock, strewn with palace ruins, provides vistas across the misty forests and hills that surround.
- Pidurangala Rock is a unique nearby hike to admire Sigiriya from afar.
- Pidurangala Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple at the base of the Rock.
- Cobra Hood Cave in the Boulder Garden resembles a cobra hood.
- Dakinigiriya Vihara is a little-visited ruined monastery that has a lake and caves.
- Sigiri Art Gallery sells paintings, commissioned artwork, traditional masks, and textiles.
Best Times to Visit
October to December is Sigiriya’s wettest season. Early morning or late afternoon climbs are the best.
These colourful murals located in the sheer rock face, depicting beautiful maidens holding flowers, used to cover the whole western wall.
Mirror Wall Graffiti
This polished wall features ancient visitor inscriptions and poems that date back to the 8th century, often praising the murals and the fortress.
The grounds of Sigiriya consist of a series of water gardens, which are still functional. These include curved tanks, bathing pools, and little islands.
It has several large boulders connected by winding pathways. The garden extends from the northern slopes to the southern slopes at the foot of the Rock.
These form a series of terraces from the pathways of the Boulder Gardens to the Rock’s entrance. Bricks and limestone make up the garden construction.
The museum’s exhibits include excavated artifacts and replicas of parts of the Rock. Its atrium frames the stunning view of the actual Rock.
Where to Shop in Sigiriya
Pathikada, Sigiriya Craft Village, Vishwa Gems, and Lanka Silks are places to go if you are on the hunt for traditional and cultural goodies.
Where to Eat in Sigiriya
Heritance Kandalama, Water Garden, and Jetwing Vil Uyana have high-end dining options at their in-hotel restaurants. Gamagedara, Nirvana, Ahinsa, Rasta Rant, The Kitchen, and Chooti are quality restaurants in Sigiriya.
Explore where you enjoy a comfortable stay during your explorations.
Water Garden Sigiriya
Jetwing Vil Uyana
Rustic wood cabins with thatched roofs provide complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars, plus tea and coffeemaking facilities. Some add private plunge pools and/or furnished balconies.
Wild Grass Nature Resort
Comprising just 8 villas, Wild Grass is set amidst 25 acres of unfenced forestland that is frequently visited by rabbits, deer, wild boar, monkeys and over 40 species of birds as well as the occasional wild elephant.