Sigiriya, Sri Lanka: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

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It is located in the Matale District in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is located within the cultural triangle formed by Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. It is an ancient rock fortress. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres high. The locals refer Sigiriya as the Eighth Wonder of the World. This ancient palace and fortress complex is Sri Lanka’s one of the most popular attractions. It is located in the heart of the island between towns of Dambulla and Habarane. The rock plateau of Sigiriya is formed from magma of an extinct volcano. The fortress complex is surrounded by an extensive network of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains. Since 3rd century BC, Sigirya served as a monastery. Later in 5th century, a royal residence was constructed here by king Kasyapa. After the death of the king, it turned into a Buddhist monastery and it was abandoned later on. The main entrance of Sigiriya is on the north side and it was designed in the form of a huge stone lion which gives the name of the rock plateau. The term Sigiriya originated from the word Sihagri which means Lion Rock. The palace and fortress complex has been declared a World Heritage Site in 1982. The climate of Sigiriya is usually hot and humid tropical. The weather is unpredictable and there are torrential downpours occurring frequently. On the other hand, they don’t last very long. The best time to visit Sigiriya is between January and March. February is the best month to visit. The best time to climb Sigiriya is early in the morning, before the day warms up.

Getting There

Sigiriya is located 175 kilometres north east of Colombo and 10 kilometres from the highway Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Trincomale. It is located among the towns of Dambulla and Habarane. To get there by car, the tracks A1 or A6 should be taken. From Dambulla, there are buses run between 6:30 am to 6:00 pm every day. It costs around LKR40. By tuk tuk, getting to Sigiriya from Dambulla costs around LKR800 – LKR1000. The trip usually takes around 40 minutes. There is also a train service to Habarana. Lastly, Cinnamon Air operates flights from Colombo International Airport to Sigiriya. The flight usually takes around 30 minutes. There is a staircase consists of 1250 steps leading to the highest point of Sigiriya. To get to the top from the bottom lasts around 2 hours. For locals, the entrance fee is Rs50; however foreigners will have to pay 30 US Dollars. This will also grant access to the Sigiriya Museum.

Getting Around

For getting around Sigiriya, there are options like walking, renting a bicycle or taking a tuk tuk. In order to explore Sigiriya, walking is the best option. The surroundings of Sigiriya can be explored by bike or scooter. Or, visitors can take a tuk tuk. Negotiating the price beforehand is advised.