The Famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress is an absolute marvel. It is also known as the ‘Lion Rock’ in Sri Lanka. The fortress is one of the most valuable monuments of Sri Lanka. The people of the country also refer to it as the ‘Eight Wonder of the World’. Rightly so, it attracts tourists around the world in large numbers.
The palace is located between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane. The monument is about 370m above sea level. Sigiriya Fortress is formed by the magma of the extinct volcano and is 200m higher than the surrounding. The Lion Fortress is the first place anyone would recommend to visit in the country. It is a must-visit place in Sri Lanka & you should definitely put this into your bucket list.
Entrance Fees –
- 30$ for Foreigners/ 4500 LKR
- 15$ per person only for SAARC Countries nationals (Need to submit the passport to get this discount)
Timings – 7 Am- 4 Pm
Location – Rock Front, Sigiriya 21120, Sri Lanka
History of Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Some guides say that the history of Sigiriya dates back to the 9th-10th century BC. whilst we know about recent events it is said that the Lion Fortress was built during the reign of King Kashayapa around 473-495. The fortress was the capital of King Kashyapa’s kingdom.
The King died a brutal death in 495 AD, thereafter the fortress was converted into a Buddhist monastery.
The Sigiriya Rock Fortress has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 1982. You have to click a total of 1200 steps to reach the summit of the Lion Fortress.
The Architecture of the Lion Fortress
The fortress complex includes vast gardens, large fortifications, ponds, canals, fountains, and more. It seems like a perfect harmony between nature and people. The surrounding jungles have been around for thousands of years.
The main entrance to the famous rock fortress is located on the north side of the rock. The upper parts of the stone lion’s body were destroyed, but its feet have survived to this day.
You can find many artworks and frescoes on the western wall of Sigiriya which have survived till this day. One of the most amazing features of Sigiriya is its Mirror wall. This wall dated back to the 8th century. There were poems and scribblings written by visitors to Sigiriya on the wall.
Spend a lot of time in the gardens. There are a lot of photo opportunities which are missed by a lot of tourists. There are acres of gardens that many people explore along with the climb to the rock.
7 Tips for Visiting the Rock Fortress
Sigiriya Rock Fortress is Sri Lanka’s most famous destination. I will list some tips which I think would help you plan well.
1 – Timing is Everything – the site opens at 7 Am. I would suggest you plan accordingly to avoid queues and getting crowded.
2- Pay the price tag – some would think the price tag is expensive ( which is true) but totally worth it.
3- Avoid taking a guide, rather buy a guidebook.
4- There are good photo opportunities around the site, don’t rush through to the top.
5 – At some places, photography is not allowed, heed photography signs.
6- Spend time in the gardens. There is more to see apart from the summit.
7 – Visit Pidurangala Rock – you can get amazing views of the Sigiriya rock from here. It is 2km away from the fortress. The Pidurangala Rock is harder to climb but is cheaper around 4$-5$ (500 LKR).
One additional tip, if you love souvenirs then you should definitely buy them at the parking end of the exit. I honestly did not find or get to buy any souvenirs in any other town in Sri Lanka. The souvenir you get in the capital city or the airport are relatively costly.
How to Reach Sigiriya?
Sigiriya can be reached from Kandy, Sir Lanka, by bus. First, go to the terminal and take a bus to the town of Dambulla. There are very nice cave temples along this route, but visitors to Sigiriya will want to wait for the stopover at the Dambulla bus terminal. Once there, you will need to grab the bus to Sigiriya
You could also share a direct cab from Colombo to Sigiriya or Dambulla.
Where to Stay in Sigiriya?
You can check out my complete guide on Places to stay in Sri Lanka.
Read my full blog on 18 must-do things in Sri Lanka in one week.
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