Weather :

Timings : 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Time Required : 3-4 hours

Entry Fee : LKR 4,500 per person

Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sigiriya Overview

Sigiriya Rock or the Lion Rock is an ancient fort located in the Matale District in central Sri Lanka. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is in the Matale District of Central Sri Lanka and lies between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane at the height of 370 metres. It consists of a citadel and has ruins of palaces, the Lion Gate, gardens, moats, the Mirror Wall, and many beautiful frescoes (paintings made in wet plaster on walls). The place got its name from the Lion claws, carved at the entrance of the Lion Gate. You can reach the Sigiriya Fortress either by bus or by train, from the main towns of Dambulla or Habarane.

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress is derived from two words - 'Simha' meaning Lion, and 'Giri' meaning Mountain. The site consists of the beautifully planned fortress, ruined halls, a citadel, the Mirror Wall, and many ancient paintings on the walls called 'Frescoes'. 

Beautiful gardens and moats surround this fortress. King Kashyapa built it after he shifted his capital to Sigiriya. The entire climb takes about an hour and has the most ethereal looking views of the land below. The climb is quite steep in some areas and is not recommended for the elderly. The site opens at 7:00 AM from Monday to Saturday and is easily accessible from nearby towns. The price is worth it, and you are sure to witness many breathtaking views.

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Timings

The site is open from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM from Monday to Saturday.

Entry Fee

The entry fee is LKR 4500 per person.

Best Time To Visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress

The best time to visit this place is from January to April. The climate would be pleasant and not too hot.

History

The fortress is also referred to as the Lion's Rock since it was designed to look like a lion stands tall amongst the jungle that surrounds it. Legends say that Sigiriya was called Alakamandava - the city of gods, built by the Hindu God of Wealth - Kubera. Kubera was known to rule Lanka before Ravana took over. 

Historically speaking, archaeological evidence suggests that the caves in and around the fortress have been inhabited by humans right from the Mesolithic period. In 477 CE, King Kashyapa I is said to have shifted his kingdom's capital to Sigiriya, where he built a sophisticated city and fortress to protect it from intruders. After he lost a battle, Sigiriya was made into a Buddhist monastery complex.

Architecture

The Sigiriya site consists of a citadel built by King Kashyapa and is divided into three parts. The upper part of the site, with the flat rock, has the ruins of the top portion of the palace. The middle section consists of the Lion Gate, the Mirror walls, and its Frescoes. The lower part has the gardens and moats that protect the citadel. The site was planned in such a way that they combine natural and human-made resources using symmetry and asymmetry. It has water retaining structures, reservoirs, etc. all interlocked to form a complex system.

Tips While Visiting Sigiriya Rock Fortress

There are a few things to keep in mind while visiting this magnificent sight.

1. Sigiriya Rock Fortress is one of the most popular sightseeing places in Sri Lanka. So when you plan your trip, take care of the crowd.

2. The climb consists of nearly 1200 steps and may take roughly an hour to get to the site. So make sure you have comfortable footwear to put on.

3. The climb is not recommended for the elderly as it is quite steep in some areas.

4. Make sure to get there as early as possible. This way, you can avoid the crowd, and you can take time to click pictures along the way.

5. Take care of your belongings. There are warning signs that prohibit you from taking pictures. Heed to those signs to avoid confiscation.

6. Do not worry about the height. The climb is relatively easy with a few steep spots but can be done with breaks. Watch out for monkeys and other animals, and you should be good.

How To Reach Sigiriya Rock

The best way to reach Sigiriya Rock Fortress is to take a bus from either Dambulla or Habarane. You can enter either of the towns from any significant city by bus. 

Another way is to take a train to Habarane, and then take a bus to Sigiriya.

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