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Sigiriya

Travel Guide
Sigiriya

Famous for its remarkable elevated citadel, this ancient city is one of the many art and architectural wonders that grace the Cultural Triangle.

Visit Sigiriya to explore a magnificent feat of architectural engineering, which ranks among Sri Lanka’s most significant historical landmarks. See the remains of a millennia-old palace and fortress, browse examples of beautiful rock paintings and wander amid ornamental gardens. Sigiriya dates back to the 3rd century B.C., when monks inhabited the area. It grew to prominence under the rule of King Kassapa in the late 400s.

The city’s crowning glory is Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site perched atop a 1,200-foot (365-meter) tall outcrop. King Kassapa chose the outcrop as the location for his stronghold royal palace and pleasure gardens. Climb to the summit via the rickety staircase to discover the remnants of courtyards, pavilions and pools set around terraced gardens. Marvel at panoramic views of lush tea plantations and mountain ranges.

Find artistic treasures spread around the foothills. With symmetrical lawns, ponds and fountains, the Water Gardens evoke images of a miniature Versailles. Follow winding walkways through woodland and past rock-cut arches in the Boulder Gardens. At the base of the southern entrance is Cobra Hood Cave, which resembles the neck of a cobra flattened to an expanded hood.

Be sure to see the sublime Sigiriya Damsels frescoes, located halfway up Lion Rock. The paintings depict 21 topless woman, some tossing flower petals and others carrying fruit plates. Nearby is the Mirror Wall, a gleaming wall festooned with centuries-old graffiti.

Learn more about the fortress and the city’s trade history at the Sigiriya Museum. Elsewhere in the city visit religious landmarks such as Pidurangala Ancient Forest Monastery, Ramakele Stupa and Sigiriya Temple. Catch a rickshaw to Pidurangala Rock, where monks have lived for over 2,000 years.

Sigiriya is about a 15-minute drive by car from Dambulla. Buses travel regularly between the two cities but the trip may be a bit longer. Many people choose to visit as a daytrip. Stay overnight at a homestay or hotel and linger a while in the shadow of this extraordinary setting. Travel on to other destinations in the Cultural Triangle, including Kandy and Polonnaruwa.

Elephant Corridor
Elephant Corridor
4 out of 5
Pothana, Kimbissa, Dambulla
The price is £87 per night from 3 Aug to 3 Aug
This family-friendly Sigiriya resort is located on a lake, within 2 mi (3 km) of Ancient City of Sigiriya and Sigiriya Museum. Pidurangala Rock is 2.8 mi (4.4 ...
4.2/5Very Good! (49 reviews)
"I stayed here 10 years ago and it was wonderful. The “bones” are great but “cracks” are appearing. The rooms are generous and the property and vistas are beautiful. The property, rooms and facilities are beginning to look a little tired and the staff are struggling. The swimming pool and spa are ..."

Reviewed on 7 Jul 2019

Elephant Corridor
Hotel Sigiriya
Hotel Sigiriya
4 out of 5
Hotel Road, Dambulla
Situated in the historical district, this spa resort is within 3 miles (5 km) of Ancient City of Sigiriya, Sigiriya Museum and Pidurangala Rock. Dambulla Cave ...
4.3/5Excellent! (453 reviews)
"Beautiful location and very kind staff , very close to Sigiriya rock"

Reviewed on 29 Feb 2020

Hotel Sigiriya
Jetwing Vil Uyana
Jetwing Vil Uyana
4.5 out of 5
Rangirigama, Dambulla
The price is £434 per night from 26 Aug to 26 Aug
Situated on the waterfront, this luxury resort is 1.3 mi (2 km) from Ancient City of Sigiriya and 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Pidurangala Rock. Minneriya National Park ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (44 reviews)
"We had a beautiful and peaceful stay at this property. The pool is exquisite and the rooms are so cool and beautiful. The wildlife is astounding and it was so tranquil to quietly watch it unfold around us. The staff is very friendly and helpful as well, arranging for us a trip to Lion Rock."

Reviewed on 10 Mar 2020

Jetwing Vil Uyana
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Nature Night Homestay
Nature Night Homestay
The price is £30 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
Situated in Sigiriya, this holiday home is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Sigiriya Museum and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Ancient City of Sigiriya. Pidurangala Rock is 2.5 mi ...
Nature Night Homestay
Back of Beyond - Pidurangala
Back of Beyond - Pidurangala
3 out of 5
Kurulu Uyana, Pidurangala, Sigiriya, Dambulla
The price is £63 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
Situated in a rural location, this villa is close to Pidurangala Rock, Ancient City of Sigiriya and Sigiriya Museum. Regional attractions also include Dambulla ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (31 reviews)
exactly what we wanted
"Totally perfect. Just what we were looking for - bush, close to both rocks, near to town, fabulous staff,great food,comfy tree house ."

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2020

Back of Beyond - Pidurangala
Roo Mansala Boutique Villas
Roo Mansala Boutique Villas
2.5 out of 5
Thalkote, \N, Dambulla, Central Province
The price is £125 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
Situated in Sigiriya, this villa is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sigiriya Museum and Ancient City of Sigiriya. Pidurangala Rock is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) away.
4.4/5Wonderful! (7 reviews)
A 4-Star Boutique Hotel in the Jungles
"We had a wonderful time at this hotel. It only has six rooms, but the quality of the hotel, the rooms, the food and the location was outstanding. My husband wanted to climb the Pidurangala Rock, and this place was so convenient to get to all the attractions as it is centrally located. Staff was so ..."

Reviewed on 1 May 2021

Roo Mansala Boutique Villas
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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