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In the heart of Sri Lanka, the historic Sigiriya rock fortress Sri Lanka serves as a testament to the ancient civilisation that thrived during that time. It is a remarkable view often called the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. This majestic rock sits 660 feet above the lush forests, and this elevation gives a glimpse into the rich past of the place. While coming down from the rock, one would come across beautiful gardens, mirrored walls and the iconic Lion Gate. At the top of the site, one can find the King’s palace’s remains, making Sigiriya an unparalleled location for nature lovers and adventurers.

History Of Sigiriya Rock Fortress Sri Lanka

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress plan view from the top

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History says that King Kashyapa I made this palace complex in the 5th century AD. King Kashyapa I took the throne from his father, King Dhatusena by force and chose Sigiriya as a strong point of power to take hold of. He did this to avoid the distribution of all assets, property and wealth. This was a very strategic build as it acted as a strong defence against attackers. After the death of King Kashyapa I, Sigiriya became a monastery and remained one until the 14th century. With time it was abandoned and forgotten by everyone and soon became a jungle. After that in the 19th century, it was discovered by the Britishers.

Must Read: Sigiriya In Sri Lanka

What Makes Sigiriya Rock So Famous?

Aerial view of Sigiriya Rock

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Here are some features of Sigiriya Rock that make it one of a kind:

  • Artistic Heritage – The landscape of Sigiriya is world famous already. It showcases the artistic genius and incredible beauty of the time. The famous Mirror Wall graffiti explores the thoughts and traditions of the ancient civilisation.
  • Tourist Attraction – Sigiriya is one of the most popular spots in Sri Lanka that tourists visit worldwide. They come to visit and marvel at the views, history and customs.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site—Rich in cultural value and history, Sigiriya was named a World Heritage Site in 1982, protecting it for future generations.

Location & Timing Of Sigiriya

Zoomed-in view of the Sigiriya site

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The Sigiriya Rock Fortress is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To avoid large crowds and heat, it is advisable to visit in the morning, especially during peak tour seasons. Sigiriya Rock is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, within the Matale District.

Suggested Read: Mannar Island

Places Around Sigiriya That You Can Visit

Here is a list of places that you can visit while you are around Sigiriya Rock Fortress:

1. Yala National Park

Yala National Park

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This sanctuary is famous for its leopard population. It offers a safari on which one can sight elephants, leopards and a variety of birds. This is the second-largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park is very well known for the animals that can be sighted over there, such as the Sri Lankan elephant and Sri Lankan leopard, as well as a variety of colourful birds which are all aquatic. The space around the Yala National Park has hosted a variety of ancient civilisations of Sri Lanka. Another two important Buddhist pilgrim sites, the Magul Vihara and the Sithulpahuwa are located in the park.

Location: Southern Province and Uva Province, Sri Lanka
Must-see: Magul Vihara, Sithulpahuwa Buddhist pilgrim sites

2. Ella

Ella offers the world’s most beautiful train journey

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A beautiful town deep within the hills, known for its stunning views, trails for hiking and the iconic Nine Arches Bridge. This place is also famous for Little Adam’s Peak. One of the main attractions of Ella includes the Dhowa temple, which is a 2,000-year-old rock-cut temple. The temple of Dhowa is located on the Badulla-Bandarawela Road. The temple has a 12-metre yet-to-be-finished Buddha statue, which has been carved into the surrounding rock by skilled artisans of yore. Other attractions at Ella include the Ella Rock, which is a lookout point, Ravana Ella Falls, a medium-sized 25 m waterfall, the Diyaluma Falls, a 220 m waterfall, Ravana Cave, the Yahalamadiththa temple and the Nildiya Pokuna.

Location: Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka
Must-see: Dhowa temple, Ella Rock, Diyaluma Falls

Suggested Read: Kallady Bridge

Ways To Get There

Kandy is a very important city in the Central Province of Sri Lanka

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Here are some important cities close to the fort, from where you can reach the fort:

Colombo-Sigiriya is approximately 175 km away northeast of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. A journey by road can take 4 to 5 hours, and hence, people tend to take the route through Kandy with a halt over there.

Kandy—This city is about 90 km away from Sigiriya, a critical city in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The drive can take 2 to 3 hours and is among the most popular ways tourists can get there.

Dambulla—Trains and buses leave the city of Dambulla, around 15 km away. Public transport can take an hour or two more than your car, but it is far cheaper than driving down.

Best Time To Visit The Sigiriya Rock Fortress Sri Lanka

To get the best experience, visit the fort from Nov-April

Image Credit:Randeepa Dhanarathna for Wikimedia Commons

The prime time to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress is during the dry season. The period from November to April is suitable for visiting. The dry season would offer very pleasant weather, with less to no rainfall and a suitable temperature. While this period is the peak tourist season, the fortress is well equipped to manage large crowds and one can visit the site during morning hours. March to April are slightly warmer than the rest, but still is a suitable time to visit. Increasing warmth will bring more lush greenery, enhancing the surroundings’ beauty.

Suggested Read: Liptons Seat Sri Lanka

Entrance Fee Of Sigiriya Rock Fortress Sri Lanka

The view of Rock from a distance

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Every country needs to protect their national monuments and heritage. In this light, the Sri Lankan authorities have some basic entrance fee structure and rules to be followed while visiting Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The entrance fee and rules to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress are as follows:

Current fee as of 2024 are as follows:

  • For Foreigners – 30 USD per person
  • SAARC Nationals – 15 USD per person ( for the South Asian Association there might be a discount)
  • Citizens of Sri Lanka – 50 LKR per adult and 25 LKR per child
  • Children under 6 years of age – Free entry

Still, the prices should be checked with your travel guide or the location. Tickets can be purchased online via tourism sites or at the entrance of the location.

Rules To Follow On Your Visit

Bird view of the fortress

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Here are some rules that you should keep in mind:

  • Respect the cultural heritage there, and do not touch or dirty the mirror wall or historic artefacts.
  • Avoid leaving graffiti or marks at any place on the site
  • Avoid restricted areas and follow designated pathways
  • Some areas can be slippery while climbing so be careful and take precautions.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for hiking and climbing
  • Do not use drones. Photography is allowed
  • Unauthorised guiding is not allowed

Further Read: Gal Oya National Park

Sri Lanka has a lot to offer, from tea plantations to beaches and historic forts, that will make you feel humble by the sight of it. There are places of worship that play a massive role in shaping religion. Sigiriya Rock Fortress Sri Lanka is a sight to behold. Now that you have a list of things to remember for your next vacation to Sigiriya Rock, plan your trip to Sri Lanka to these fabulous spots for the experience of a lifetime. Don’t miss out on these opportunities, and book your tickets now!

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Cover Image Credit: Madhawa Dunuwila for Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Sigiriya Rock Fortress Sri Lanka

How long does it take to reach the top of Sigiriya Rock?

It typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the number of stops you take and the pace you maintain along to admire the views.

Any attire that needs to be followed to visit the site?

Recommended to wear comfortable clothing during the hike, something cotton. Wear shoes that are appropriate for a hike or walk. Avoid heels.

Anything we should carry for the hike or the trip?

Sturdy hiking shoes are advisable. Additionally bring sunscreen, plenty of water, snacks, medical kit and supplies.

Are guided tours available at Sigiriya?

Yes, tour guides are available and recommended to hire one to gain deeper insights and knowledge about the place and historical sites.

Is Sigiriya Rock suitable for children and the elderly?

While the climb can be challenging, many elderly and children can visit and manage the hike. If they stop and rest in the middle it won't be difficult for them to achieve the hike.

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