Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress - Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress
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“Sigiriya” as its name itself suggests; “The Lion Rock” is an experience of a different level. The Lion Rock is a very popular tourist attraction of Sri Lanka. It is also known as “Sigiriya Rock Fortress”.

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Fortress is built on a giant rock mountain rising over 200m above the surrounding jungle. What you can witness there today are the ruins of a magnificent palace, its gardens and many other monuments of architectural and aesthetic value.

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress

The Lion Rock is located in Sigiriya town which is in Matale district of Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is a 3 and half hours drive from Colombo. 177 km

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress

Sigiriya town has many hotels surrounded by lush greenery and there are many souvenir shops and restaurants in the town which are tourist friendly.

Sigiriya - the 8th Wonder of the World

Your visit to Sigiriya will be an experience of a fine mixture of nature and cultural alike. UNESCO ranks Sigiriya as the 8th Wonder of the World since it is a cultural heritage of great historic value which is also of engineering and architectural importance.

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress

Historic Background - Sigiriya Lion Rock History

Sigiriya was built in the late 5th century by King Kassapa (I). According to history, King Kassapa built this rock palace as a fortress to protect himself from a possible invasion by his brother.

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress

It is said that the king, having abandoned the capital Anuradhapura, had remained in this fortress which was therefore built with all facilities and comforts.

What do you find in the Lion Rock - “Sigiriya”

Sigiriya bithu sithuwam

This National monument consists of the royal palace at the top and the massive royal gardens in one part before we reach the top.

It will take an hour or so to climb around 1200 steps leading to the top of the Lion Rock. There are many other sights of interest on your way to the summit.

Sigiriya Water Gardens

There is a surprising series of pools and water gardens fed by a system of underground pipes starting from the base of the rock mountain. It is said that these pools were allocated for the royal concubines of King Kassapa.

Caves, Galleries and the Mirror Wall - Sigiri Apsara

The galleries on the rock wall are found once you climb the spiral staircase. The popular murals of “Sigiri Apsara”; the paintings of deities showcase the richness of the ancient Sri Lankan art.

Sigiri apsaraviyo apsara

Next to them is the Mirror Wall ( Katapath Paura ) where the visitors of Sigiriya from more than a 1000 years ago used to write poems ( Kurutu Gee ), their thoughts on the paintings and about this cultural monument. Since the wall had an elegant mirror like polish in the past, it is known as the Mirror Wall.

The Lion Stairways

The lion terrace is the gateway to the palace on the top. The staircase opens with the giant paws of the lion and its way through the ruins of the mouth of the lion leads to the summit. It is believed that “Sigiriya” got its name “Lion Rock” with this entrance structure of a lion which stands tall.

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress
Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress
Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress

The Top of the Lion Rock

The breathtaking view of the surroundings from the top of the rock is very much rewarding for your 1000 step climb up.

The top of the rock consists of the remains of the palace. Palace buildings, halls, pavilions, ponds, gardens and many structures of architectural value.

It is in fact a wonder how water is pumped up to the summit from the base through an impressive water system of engineering importance.

As you witness the ruins of this remarkable engineering model, it becomes evident that they have used advanced technology to construct the fortress in this massive rock rising high above the jungle.

Sigiriya Opening Hours and Costume

The attraction will be open for visitors from 6.30 am to 5.30 p.m. everyday.

There is no specific costume to wear since it is not a religious monument. However, we would recommend you to wear a costume suitable for hiking and wear sneakers.

Sigiriya Lion Rock katapath paura

Sigiriya Lion Rock Entrance Fee

The entrance ticket is comparably high but it is worth a visit for a price as such for an incredible historic monument.

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress ticket price

Best time to Climb the Lion Rock

Best time to climb the Lion Rock is early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day and to enjoy the breathtaking views leisurely. Better to arrive early in the morning before 9am or late in the afternoon

Pidurangala Rock Hike

Those who climb the Lion Rock also find it part and parcel of the same trip to climb the Pidurangala rock. You can have the best view of Lion Rock and the surroundings from the top of the Pidurangala Rock.

Best time to climb the rock is either at sunrise or sunset. It is advisable to wear sneakers for a comfortable walk. Compared to the entrance price for Lion Rock, the entrance fee here is low.

Since there is a temple at the first part of the hike, you are required to cover your knees and shoulders until you pass the religious site.

Once the hike is over we recommend you a relaxing foot massage at a spa around Sigiriya. There are many standard places for reasonable prices.

Any other places to visit in the vicinity ?

  • Cave Temple in Dambulla
  • Golden Temple in Dambulla
  • Safari to Minneriya National Park
  • Safari to Kaudulla National Park
  • Reach the nearest beach in Trincomalee

Plan Your Visit

It would be ideal for a tourist to stay at least 2 days in Sigiriya. If you have a tight schedule, you may climb Pidurangala rock the first day for a fascinating view of the Lion Rock and you can climb the Lion Rock on the day you are leaving.

How to reach Sigiriya

Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress garden

By Bus

You can travel by bus which takes around 3 to 4 hours/ However, there is no direct bus to Sigiriya. You need to take a bus to Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa or Trincomalee and get down at Dambulla or Habarana and take another bus or tuk tuk from there to Sigiriya.

By Train

You can take the train from Colombo Fort to Habarana and reach Sigiriya by bus or taxi from there. Distance from HAbarana to Sigiriya is 17 Km. It will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach your destination.

Flight to Sigiriya

You can take Cinnamon Air from Katunayake Airport to reach Sigiriya in around 30 minutes.

Accommodation in Sigiriya