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Sigiriya

Located right in the middle of the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, the 4 - 5 hour drive north east from Colombo will lead you to the ancient village of Sigiriya, shrouded in mystery and known for housing one of the most impressive archaeological landmarks in Sri Lanka. Moreover, Sigiriya’s rustic nature has made it perfect for the traveller looking for a tranquil getaway, as it serves as a haven for wildlife to thrive in.

Top Reason to Visit

If you search for images of Sri Lanka in the internet, one of the first pictures you come across will be the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress (sometimes known as the Lion Rock) that was once the stronghold of King Kassapa’s kingdom. This rock fortress, boasting of intricately decorated sculptures, frescoes and even the ruins of a royal palace, lying dead centre in the village takes the top reason to visit the place.

While You're There

The eighth wonder of the world:

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress has been considered a marvel to behold around the world, skillfully transformed into a fortified sanctum for King Kassapa to dwell in by taking a natural rock formation where ancient artifacts still exist even today. The intricately crafted frescoes, the stone paws of the lion that once belonged to a detailed sculpture of an entire lion at the entrance of the Royal Palace of King Kassapa are just some of the artifacts that can be witnessed in all its grandeur. A climb up the ruined palace perched on top of the rock fortress is a must for any traveller that journeys around the Paradise Island.

The ‘not so known’ wonder of the world:

A largely unknown entity, around 1-Kilometre away from the Lion Rock, is the Pidurangala Rock that is known for being a place of solitude for many Buddhist monks due to its tranquil surroundings. Often an underrated feature of the village, the Pidurangala Rock serves as a temple, as well as a nature lover’s haven boasting of majestic views of the Lion Rock and the surrounding areas. Sunsets and sunrises often have a spellbinding effect on any person that traverses the trail up to the summit of the rock.

A bird’s eye view:

Float above the tranquil and historic village in the centre of the Cultural Triangle in a hot air balloon during the wee hours of the morning. The warm blue sky above and the rustic beauty at the bottom, further accentuated with the rising sun; hot air ballooning has quickly become a major tourist attraction for tourists and locals alike to mark the pleasant experience of the area.

Behold the Asian elephant:

Sigiriya, being in close proximity to the Minneriya National Park, serves as an ideal base for that much needed wildlife excursion. Witnessing herds of the majestic Asian elephant gathering about near the Minneriya reservoir to rehydrate after wandering around the wilderness is always something special. These sentient beings showcasing similar behaviours to the human being gives an interesting reflection for one to understand that animals and humans are not so different to one another in some ways.

Insider Advice

Travel: Sigiriya and its surrounds are ideally explored by bike (around LKR 300 per day) or scooter (LKR 1,500); most guesthouses can organise rentals. Should you choose to hire a tuk-tuk to explore the village, they would generally quote a high price depending on how long the trip would be.

Weather: The months from February to April are when the village experiences a moderate climate, making it ideal for visiting the place.

Money: It is important to always carry cash in hand with small notes like LKR 20s, 50s and 100s, so as to make small transactions easier. There are quite a few shops that do accept credit and debit cards though.

Clothing: Cover shoulders, arms and legs at temples as directed. Apart from the religious places, conservative attire is the best way to go when travelling around the town.

Safety: The town of Sigiriya is generally very safe and quite friendly, however, you do get a few touts and hustlers. As long as you ignore them there is nothing to worry about. Also make sure you keep your belongings close to you at all times.

Meals and refreshments: There is a line of traveller geared cafe-restaurants in Sigiriya village, and most guesthouses located outside of town offer meals.

Sigiriya village in all its entirety is a wonder of the world, not just because of the presence of the Lion Rock, but also many sites and activities that is bound leave any individual speechless.

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