One of the most dramatic and iconic locations you will ever stumble upon in Sri Lanka is Sigirya – which literally translates to lion rock in Sinhalese. Standing tall amidst lush green landscapes with mysterious caves and water bodies, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is the ruins of the kingdom of King Kashyapa, who ruled around AD 477. With the castle located on the upper rock, which is almost a vertical cliff, you can actually see the ruins when you make it to the top. On the slopes of the rock, you can find gardens, moats and walls that are covered with ancient paintings.
Known for: Being the ruins of a 1600-year-old kingdom that indigenously came up with sophisticated hydraulic systems, paintings and more. The lion’s foot at the entrance of the fortress gives the place its name. Also popular for housingwalls that were so smooth that the king used them as mirrors. The castles and all its remains still accessible.
How to Reach: Dambulla is the closest city located near Sigirya, at around 18 kilometers. You can reach Dambulla from your respective cities by buses or trains and then take tuk tuks, cabs or buses that will take you to Sigiriya. Buses will cost you around Rs. 100 approximately and tuk tuks can charge you Rs. 1000 approximately. Buses are frequent to Sigiriya, with one plying every 30 minutes.
Approximate Cost: Rs. 1000 per person
Operating Hours: 7:00 AM to 9:30 PM
Any Precautions: If you are planning to visit Sigiriya, you should buy your tickets from one of the Central Cultural Fund offices, located in Colombo and other important cities. The trek appears simple after climbing Adam’s Peak and should take you anywhere between 45 minutes to one hour to reach to the top. The stairs can induce vertigo and dizziness and go only if you are unaffected by heights and staircases. Since no cafes are available, stock yourself with enough snacks and water and carry a camera, sunglasses and a hat mandatorily. Your ticket allows you to enter the other World Heritage Sites located in proximity to Sigiriya.
Type: Historic Landmark