Sigiriya known as Lion Rock pronounced see-gi-ri-yə. The ancient rock fortress is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, in the town of Dambulla. A site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock approximately 180 m or 590 ft in high. Moreover, Dambulla is directly accessible through private transport, or by train and bus from Colombo.
According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Chulavamsa, the area was a large forest. Remanences of a forest in the surrounding areas can be viewed today. The rock location was selected by King Kashyapa (AD 477–495) as his capital. King Kashyapa built the palace on top of this rock and decorated the sides with colorful frescoes. Half way up the fortress is a small plateau on the side. The king built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure; Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock.
After the king’s death, Sigiriya was abandoned as the capital and the royal palace. Sigiriya was later used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. However, Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.
Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple is also located in the compound. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. The cave monastery contains five sanctuaries. One of the largest best-preserved cave-temples in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings covering an area of 2,100 m2 are of particular importance with a total of 157 statues. The cave temple is also a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site.
Getting to Sigiriya
- Planning your trip to the rock fortress is a full day adventure!
- Sigiriya is open from 7 am – 5 pm.
- Sigiriya entrances tickets can be purchased at the entrance gate or online.
- Travel Time from Colombo includes either a 6-hour Drive, a 10-hour Bus Ride, and/or a 8-hour Train Journey.
- Bus tickets can be purchases at the Fort Main Bus Stand i.e. Route number 34 Colombo – Trincomalee (Dambulla).
- Railway Tickets can be booked online, 1-2 days in advance Colombo Trincomalee (Dambulla).
- Note: Payments are made in local currency to the reservations counters.
Climbing Preparations – Rock Fortress
- Any google search on accommodation will provide a number of options based on your budget and preference.
- The climb will take you through staircases and narrow pathways
- The climb will at least 2 -3 hours depending on your fitness level.
- Climbers require to be sufficiently equipped with cotton clothing, walking shoes, cap, water and snacks to climb.