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Country rank: 2 out of 53 Places To Visit In Sri-lanka

Sub-Region: Central Province


Ideal duration: 2 days

Best time: January - April (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Sigiriya (Check Flights)


"Ancient Rock Fortress town "

Sigiriya Tourism

Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, Sigiriya serves as a fine example of ancient urban planning. Sigiriya is a significant site of the Cultural Triangle and perhaps Sri Lanka’s most iconic historical destination. The site, also known as Lion Rock, is recognized all over the world for the remains of the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress and its numerous enchanting and well-preserved attractions. The complex hydraulics system at the fortress enhances the site’s reputation as a beautiful example of classical city planning.

It is located in the Matale district in the centre near the town called Dambulla. According to history, this site was chosen by the king Kasyapa to serve as his new capital. There is a huge gateway shaped like a lion and the place derives its name from this gateway. This place served as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.

The fortress complex, constructed in the 5th century, includes attractions such as the royal gardens, one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, and the Mirror Wall, which is adorned with ancient graffiti. The highlight of the fortress is the colourful frescoes painted on the western face of the rock; it is believed that there were initially 500 such frescoes, but merely around 22 of them remain today. The gigantic Lion’s Paws greet visitors before the summit. At the peak are the ruins of the royal palace of King Kashyapa I, and 360-degree panoramas of the surrounding landscape. Sigiriya Museum at the foot of the rock has a plethora of artefacts related to Sigiriya on display for visitors seeking information regarding the site’s history.

Another interesting archaeological site located nearby is Pidurangala, which houses the remains of a cave temple complex. Hiking to the summit of Pidurangala Rock offers stunning views of the Sigiriya Rock.

Visit Sigiriya and explore the opulence, might and sophistication of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka.

Hotels in Sigiriya

Top Hotels in Sigiriya

  • Sigiriya King's Resort

    USD 113 /night onwards

  • Roo Mansala Boutique Villas

    USD 145 /night onwards

  • Water Garden Sigiriya

    USD 191 /night onwards

View All Hotels in Sigiriya >

More on Sigiriya

Sinhala and Tamil are spoken mostly. However English is also a language of communication in Sigiriya.

Excavations at Sigiriya indicate that the area was occupied during the protohistoric times. During the 3rd century BC, Sigiriya was the site of a Buddhist monastery, evident from the rock shelters at the boulder gardens. King Kashyapa of the Anuradhapura kingdom fled to Sigiriya after capturing the throne and built his capital here in the 5th century AD. After his death, the site fell into decline and was again used as a Buddhist monastery.

In the 17th century, Sigiriya was a garrison for the kingdom of Kandy. The site was discovered and consequently excavated in the 19th century by the British.

Sigiriya has no worthy nightlife but the Sri Lanka ex servicemen's institute is worth a visit. Women travelling alone are advised against drinking here.

Although Sigiriya does not have any significant shopping complexes or big-name stores, one can buy souvenirs such as wooden carvings, paintings and other handicrafts at some of the shops scattered in the vicinity of the site; such shops include Pethikada and Sigiriya Craft Village.

The LKR is the local currency in Sri Lanka which replaced the British pound in the country.There are portraits of previous Sri Lankan prime ministers as well as ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the fronts of the bank notes.The backs have Sri Lankan flora and fauna, landscapes, industries as well as pictures showing local culture and history.

1 LKR = 0.46 INR.

The average daily budget of a tourist would depend on whether the travel is luxurious or budget travels. So a budget trip would cost 3000 - 4200 LKR each day.

Theravada Buddhism is the major religion of Sigiriya

Sigiriya has no special customs that need to be observed.

While there are no restaurants at the fortress complex, a host of eateries are situated in the vicinity, such as Wijesiri Family Restaurant, Chooti Restaurant and Pradeep Restaurant. These restaurants primarily serve authentic and delicious Sri Lankan fare and Asian dishes. Head to Espresso Italiano for your daily dose of caffeine after completing the hike.

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How to Reach Sigiriya

One can enter Sigiriya by bus or car (Read More)

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