Pidurangula rock- A view of Sri Lanka’s eighth Wonder of the world, Sigiriya rock
Sigiriya rock is Sri Lanka’s eighth wonder of the world and it’s not hard to see why. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sigiriya rock has become Sri Lanka’s most visited landmark. Spanning nearly 200 metres high and dating as far back as the 3rd century where it served as a monastery to Buddhist monks. The Buddhist monks later moved to Pidurangula rock when King Kasyapa selected Sigiriya to be Sri Lanka’s new capital during the 5th century. He built his palace and beautiful frescoes with an enormous gateway which formed a lion on the side of the rock face, giving its name Sigiriya- Lions rock.
Pidurangula is Sigiriya’s sister rock and from here you can see the incredible archeological wonder of Sigiriya with views that span 360 degrees and are absolutely breathtaking.
We started the day with a 3:30am wake up call to watch the sunrise and was ready to leave Dambulla at 4:30am. Chathuri, the owner at our homestay arranged our tuk tuk which cost 2000 rupees (£9). That price includes the 30-45 minute drive to Pidurangula rock, the hour or so wait and the return to our homestay.
At the entrance of Pidurangula rock you are greeted by a Buddhist temple so be sure to dress modestly for your hike or pack a scarf to cover up. The start of the hike is in complete darkness, but fear not, there are arrows pointing you in the right direction. We used our iPhone torches as we forgot our head light.
On the climb up through the jungle you can hear the sounds of monkeys, birds and the chirping of crickets. As you almost reach the top you will find a gigantic reclining Buddha built into a cave. Not far from this spot you will reach large boulders that you will need to climb in order to reach the top. Make sure you wear correct footwear as sandals/flip flops won’t be much use.
Towards the top we could see the morning light peaking through the trees. That gave me a little boost to climb faster. Once you get to the top you will be wowed by the pink tones of sunrise and clouds of morning mist. There were only a handful of people on top watching the sunrise so we went to find a secluded spot to take photos of the incredible view.
Sigiriya rock looked so mystical surrounded by mist and the dense trees scattered across the landscape below. It was at that point I knew I had made the right choice to climb Pidurangula rock.
Why choose Pidurangula rock over Sigiriya?
The choice is completely up to you but I chose Pidurangula as it has way less tourists and definitely more adventure. Pidurangula also costs significantly less than Sigiriya, costing only 500 rupees each. Where, Sigiriya would cost you around 4500 rupees, around £20 each. The climb up Pidurangula took us roughly 20minutes, where Sigiriya can take anything from 45mins-3 hours depending on fitness level and the crowds. Of course, Pidurangula doesn’t have the incredible ruins on top but it does have a magnificent reclining Buddha built into the rock on the way up to the top.
Where to stay
We stayed at Dambulla Shan Inn, Dambulla. It’s a quiet village in comparison to the big city of Colombo. I don’t normally write about our hotel stays but I had such a great experience here I had to share. I can’t recommend Dambulla Shan Inn enough. On arrival, Chathuri gave us the warmest welcome, spoke excellent English and sorted our itinerary within 5 minutes of arriving there. Chathuri not only arranged our tuk tuk to Pidurangula but also booked us seats on a private bus to Kandy and even walked us to the bus stop the next morning. I was able to totally relax and not worry about researching or arranging anything. It cost us 3000 rupees (£13.50) for 1 night.
P.s Chathuri makes a delicious Sri Lankan breakfast!
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