Places to stay near Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Reviews of Sigiriya Rock Fortress • 21
Deep in the middle of Sri Lanka this massive archeological column of granite rock rises starkly above a dense tropical forest. It is situated 15 Km away from Dambulla city and no lesser than an other-worldly rocky heaven featuring blood-stained history of power, frescoes, graffiti and landscaped garden.
Ready to climb 1200 stairs to reach the top of the Sigiriya rock? Well, don’t blame me – I told you to get good rest yesterday night! You will need all the energy you have today – so start with a carb heavy breakfast, before you start the climb. And brace yourselves to fight with some serious human traffic if your Day 2 happens to be on a weekend or a holiday. The trick here is to start as early as possible. Hating me already? Well don’t yet. I will give you enough reasons throughout the rest of the day JIf my estimations are right, you should be back from the rock by lunch time. Feel free to grab a small bite, because guess what, I am making you climb another 200 stairs to go checkout the Dambulla cave temple! Remember I told you I will give you enough reasons to hate me? This was a unique experience, to see so many idols of Gautam Buddha lined up within these small caves. On your way down from here, you might want to help yourself to some coconut water or some raw mangoes – it can get really hot during this time of the day in Sri Lanka.I will leave the rest of the day to you to roam around and enjoy the small town vibe in Sri Lanka. But wait! Would strongly recommend you check out the sunset from the Habarana lake. I am still perplexed why this lake is NOT as commercialized, but that is what makes it really peaceful out here – the mud brick roads, some tourists taking an Elephant ride, the solitary boats parked somewhere on the shore – the serenity of this place is overpowering, and a welcome change from the crowded touristy places of Dambulla and Sigiriya Rock.If you have a spare day after this, would be great to spend the day checking out the ruins of Pollonaruwa or Anuradhapura. We did not have that extra day, so we moved on to our nextdestination – Kandy!
Next morning, we were set to ascend 1200 stairs to reach the ruins of the palace of King Kasyapa, mounted on a Lion’s Paw! It took us one and half hour to reach the top. Whirling winds, unobstructed sight of trees and lone hills around gave us company on our way up! We sat amidst the palace ruins mesmerised by the views down below.
Lazy as I am, I woke up at 9 am. I quickly packed my bagpack and left for Sigriya. Sigriya has an entry charges but discounted for SAARC nationalities. It wasn't too hot there. The climb was not too difficult and worth the view after reaching the top.The another hill is free of charge but I was not having much energy to do that track as well. I got back to hostel and again slept without dinner.
To reach Sigiriya Rock, we've to change the bus from Dambulla and get on the one heading towards Pidurangala. The bus dropped me at this deserted place with a sign board stating Pidurangala leading to the woods. I followed my instincts and started walking towards the forest.
It was almost 4 hours drive from Colombo Airport to the famous Sigiriya Lion Rock. The Sigiriya Lion Rock was one hell of a sight. It took us almost two hours to hike to the peak. It was worth a visit.
The view from the top of Sigiriya is breathtaking I am told. But we couldn't climb it because it was raining cats and dogs. If you want to reach the top of the rock, factor in 1 to 1.5 hours from the time you begin ascent. Also wear proper footwear.
There is one breathtaking tourist attraction (2hrs away from Kandy) called “Sigiriya Rock”. This destination is not to be missed. There are bus services taking you to Sigiriya Rock.
Climbed the Sigiriya rock. That was very tiring and took a long time. Took loads of photos. Saw the museum as well.Then in the afternoon around 4 pm, took the bus from Sigiriya back to Dambulla.I went to see the cave temple in Dambulla. That didnt take very long.The cave complex has 5 cave temples.I was quite tired by this time, so checked in to my Ranmal tourist inn hotel in Dambulla which was near the cave temple.Had nice food just outside the hotel.11 AprilChecked out of the friendly hotel and took the bus to Polonnaruwa.
After you are done with site seeing there, you can take a tuk tuk to the bus station and catch a bus to Sigiriya which takes about 30 - 45 mins to get there. Again ask the driver to drop you off nearby the entrance of the rock fortress which is the main attraction there. The entrance fee to here is quite expensive for foreigners (2000 LKR for south Asian countries including India and 4000 LKR for others) but its definitely worth the visit. Make sure you have at least 3-4 hrs to explore the place as it might be quite crowded here especially on the weekends and you might have to que up in order to get to the top.Not to forget that the last bus to Dambulla leaves at around 5.30 pm which you don't want to miss or else you need to spend some extra money for a tuk tuk to get you back to Dambulla. Once you are in Dambulla there are frequent buses to Kandy which runs until late in the night.
This tour gives the opportunity to visit some of the most important heritage sites such as The Ancient Rock Fortress of Sigiriya.
We actually managed most of these in our eight day trip. We climbed actual Sigiriya rock instead of Pidurangala. The most defining of all was the climb to Adam's peak. Though the most enjoyable were the beaches.
Sigiriya or the lion mountian fascinates most of the travelers who come to srilanka. Entry priced at 3900 for foreigners (SAARC countries get 50% discount as of feb 2014) it is by no means cheap. Next to Sigiriya is the Pidurangala rock you can climb for- FREE. You might not have the bragging rights of Sigiriya but you will have an equally stunning view and definitely better view of Sigiriya than those who climb it. The rock houses monks who used to occupy the area near Sigiriya.
Day 3: 2nd January, 2016: By about 11:OO AM the next morning we were ready to leave for Sigiriya for the Lion Fortress and decided to check out of our hotel so that we can instead spend a night in Sigiriya. The commute (a private taxi) was arranged by Camarin Residence for 7000LKR (about 3300INR/ 40USD) for a one way drop to our resort, Green Ayurvedic Resort in Sigiriya.
We climbed further to finally reach the bottom of the fort, the entrance flanked by a lion’s paws. There used to be a sculpted lion’s head on top as well, however that collapsed many years ago. Just standing there, so many feet above the ground and at the feet of a lion was an immensely humbling experience. It turns out, we had reached right in the middle of a wasp-attack (yes, that apparently happens and is very common), so we had to put on these space-suit like well, suits which cover you head to toe, in that sweltering heat and climb up multiple flights of rickety stairs till you reach the fort on top. May have been an easier climb had my glasses not fogged up with every 5 steps! But then once you reach on top, the panoramic view makes you forget all the breathlessness you had to endure!Finally we came down (which was again a jaunting task for our old knees!) and headed to the Sigiriya Museum. The museum, which is superbly maintained, contains all tit-bits of information about the ancient city and of course it makes more logical sense to actually visit the museum before you climb, to fully appreciate the history you’ll be in the midst of!We spent the last few hours of the day being pampered by our hostess at the home stay and watching the sun set behind the spectacular Sigiriya mountain.Day 3: Trincomalee
The moment we got off at Sigiriya and set our eyes for the first time on the island mountain we knew we would have some amazing memories to take away! Quickly we became friends with a tuk-tuk driver (which is surprisingly easy if you’re an India, or so it seems), and he took us to a nearby home stay which would be our mecca for the day. We washed and left for the climb, which little did we know would test our fitness, grit and courage to quite an extent!The first few minutes is just walking around the fort gardens and enjoying the hilarious signboards that pock mark the area. Examples: we saw a sign board saying “Do Not Walk on the Grass” plonked right in a middle of an area of land that was dug up and strewn with hay! We saw another sign which said “Do Not Swim in the Water, Beware of Crocodiles”, definitely would have made sense if the moat had enough water!Anyway, we marched on and started climbing and gasping to breathe every few steps! The first point of attraction is the Mirror Wall and the spiral staircase dangling mid-air that you need to climb to reach this wall. While climbing the stairs you can see some of the supposedly more than 500 frescoes than adorn the western face of the fort. The Mirror Wall when built more than 1600 years ago was apparently polished so highly that the king could see his reflection in it!
One thing i know after this trip is that i am definitely going back to Sri Lanka for more, still to see Archaeological marvel of Sigiriya, Architecture of Pollu Nuwara.
The Lion Rock is breathtaking and allows you to experience the vision , grandeur and tragedy of the history of the palace.The climb to the top of the rock is an experience, there are about 1200 steps that magically merge into the rock and take you to ruins of the Sky Palace. Along the way we stopped at the 1600 year old Frescoes, the Lions Paws that at one time protected the entry into the innermost sanctum of the palace. One would have to go through the lions mouth ,sadly today only the paws are intact.Even today the ruins at the Sky Palace glow, all the steps are made from moonstone that shine under moonlight and glow like gold under the sunlight. I will definitely dedicate a detailed story to this Heritage site and probably even plan a trip back just to spend a few days around the Lions Rock.
From Dambulla bus stand bus number 490/1 goes to Sigriya. The buses are available every half an hour. It takes an hour to reach Sigriya from Dambulla. The last bus to come back to Dambulla from Sigriya is at 5:30 p.m. So don't miss this bus.Sigriya fort: Entry ticket 3900 LKR. For SAARC countries if you have your passport then ticket prices are halved so for me the ticket was for 1900 LKR. You have to walk up the stairs which are steep. Hence the whole trip can take around 4-5 hours including bus travel to and from Dambulla.
Later in the evening, I was in Sigiriya, the town which has nothing more than the famous Lion Rock, and that is more than sufficient, if you ask me. It is quite a climb to get to the top, and it is supposed to have a great view of the surrounding areas; the reason I use the word supposed is, I never got to see as far as I could, because it started raining while I was climbing and I don’t have a reason to complain, I got the mightiest view possible, the clouds over those ruins, and then they clearing, what more could one ask for!!
It was an ordeal to climb the 1200 steps in the scorching heat (up and down) but it was definitely worth the pain :), We hired a guide who charged us Rs 2500 (Srilankan rupees), we thought it was expensive but then we really didnt have a choice. There is no point in climbing all the way to the top without understanding the significance of every part of the fortress