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Sigiriya Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, the 'Lion Fortress' of Sri Lanka as it is popularly called, is one of the top sites in the Sri Lanka packages. A colossal 200-meter-high rock surrounded by remnants of a network of gardens and reservoirs, Sigiriya was designated as a world heritage site in 1982.

Sigiriya Lion Rock is lava left behind from an ancient volcano, which is quite a sight during your Sigiriya tour. Apart from this, the Sigiriya rock fortress has old paintings (frescoes) that resemble India's Ajanta Caves. However, the frescoes in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, display a unique Sri Lankan style.

On a day trip to Sigiriya from Colombo, admire this special place that is a huge part of Sri Lanka's history. Established over 1,500 years ago by a rogue king, the Sigiriya complex is one of the earliest preserved sites today. And though this rock did not save his king, it kept the ancient Sinhalese culture.

If you wish to visit this beautiful site in Sri Lanka, design a Sigiriya tour package with Indian Holiday according to your requirements. But before that, read this detailed Sigiriya rock guide.

Overview of Sigiriya

Location Northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla
Address Rock front, Sigiriya 21120, Sri Lanka
Timings 6.30 am to 5.30 pm


  • Visit the museum to see the excavation pictures, frescoes reproductions, and Mirror Walls' graffiti translations.
  • Head to Pidurangala Rock, a popular alternative for rock climbers to avoid crowds.
  • Explore the Dambulla cave temple, one of the most ancient and highly preserved temples.
  • Hike to Sigiriya Caves and spend time clicking pictures and witnessing panoramic views.

Sigiriya Entrance Tickets

  •  Sigiriya Lion Rock ticket: Adult - USD 30 (INR 2477), Child - USD 15 (INR 1238) (includes a ticket to Sigiriya Lion Rock Museum)
  •  Sigiriya Museum ticket: USD 5 (INR 413) (buy if visiting the museum only)
  •  Pidurangala Rock ticket: LKR 500 (INR 113) (main attraction after Sigiriya)

Note: There are separate tickets for Dambulla Temple, Dambulla Museum, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa, and the price is subject to change. 

About Sigiriya

Plan a Sigiriya day trip from Colombo to witness one of the best-preserved complexes of ancient urban planning. The gardens here are Asia's oldest surviving gardens, which makes it a must-visit. Moreover, Sigiriya is a historical site and one of the only seven UNESCO world heritage sites in Sri Lanka.

Today, it stands proudly as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," considering the advanced irrigation system that brought water to the landscaped garden more than 1500 years later. Moreover, the fortress is believed to be the region that has been populated since the 3rd century BCE, making it one of Sri Lanka's most important historical and archaeological sites.

Historical Background of Sigiriya

In 476 CE, Sri Lanka was ruled by King Dhatusena, whose illegitimate son, Kashyapa, wanted the throne. But his full-blood brother Moggallana was standing between him and the throne. So, to stake his claim, Kashyapa made a scheme with the army's commander to overthrow Dhatusena.

As per the tale, it is said that Kashyapa showed mercy to his father and left him alive. This sent Moggallana to Southern India to escape a similar destiny. And finally, Kashyapa became the king himself in 477 CE.

He gave the first order to relocate the royal seat to Sigiriya from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura. And soon, he began the construction of his stone fortress. After his death, the gardens and the palace were abandoned, which is believed to be occupied by a Buddhist monastery in the 14th century. However, no records show this fort's history between the 14th and 16th centuries. Later, in the 17th century, Sigiriya was used as an outpost for the Kingdom of Kandy's independent monarchy.

HCP Bell, an archaeologist, began a search operation in the 1890s. Finally, after twenty years, the natural rock formation caught the eye of the public, and John Still, a British explorer, came to Sigiriya in 1907, which flared global discussion.

Archeological work started in 1982 when the government funded the Cultural Triangle Project, which focused on this ancient city. But by then, historians learned that Lion's statue at Sigirya's gate had collapsed long ago.

Interesting Facts about Sigiriya Sri Lanka

  •  King Kashyapa constructed the citadel atop Sigiriya, Sri Lanka.
  •  The Sigiriya Rock is 200 meters high and takes 1,200 steps to climb.
  •  King Kashyapa created a 'mirror wall,' inscribed today by visitor graffiti.
  •  This abandoned site was not found until 1831.
  •  Sigiriya was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
  •  Sigiriya has an advanced irrigation system.
  • It is also well known as the Palace of Ravana. 

FAQS About Sigiriya

Q: When is the best time to visit Sigiriya?

Ans: January to April is the best time to visit Sigiriya as the weather is pleasant, and you can climb up and down the fort comfortably.

Q: How to reach Sigiriya by train?

Ans: Plan a Sigiriya day tour from Colombo by train. However, there are no trains between the two places, and the best option is to go from Colombo to Habarana, 15 km away, and then a tuk-tuk ride to Sigiriya.

Q: Can I buy tickets online?

Ans: Yes. Sri Lanka Government Central Cultural Fund facilitates tourists to buy Sigiriya and its surrounding attractions entrance tickets online.

Q: What is the best time of the day to visit Sigiriya?

Ans: Arrive early, before 9 am, or late afternoon to avoid the sun, which may make climbing harder.

Q: How long does it take to climb Sigiriya?

Ans: There are 1200 steps to get to Sigiriya's top. So, it will take between 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on your age, fitness, and the crowds at the site.

Q: Why is Heritage Kandalama famous?

Ans: Heritance Kandalama Sigiriya Sri Lanka is a peaceful retreat perched on hills that offers panoramic views of Sigiriya Rocks. Moreover, it is the first Green Globe 12-certified hotel in Asia and the world's first hotel to be awarded the LEED Green Building certification. There are various restaurants here, including the Kanchana Café, which has won many awards.