For the atmospheric cave temples and mesmerising rock fortress
Sigiriya is known for its Cave Temples and its rock fortress which lies near the town of Dambulla. From here it is also easy to visit Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Polonnaruwa, an ancient city filled with ruins and temples. Minneriya National Park is also nearby where a jeep safari can be enjoyed to spot wildlife including elephants, deer and a variety of birdlife.
Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Sigiriya.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress Summit
The spectacular terraced summit of the rock is thought to be the site chosen by King Kasyapa for his fortified capital after assassinating his father. Today only the buildings foundations remain. The panoramic views from the summit of the rock which extend for miles across lush green fields and verdant forests, are well worth the climb.
Discover Ancient Frescoes
Halfway up the Sigiriya rock an open-air spiral stairway leads to a long, sheltered gallery in the sheer rock face. The ancient paintings of women are believed to represent either apsaras (celestial nymphs) or King Kasyapa’s concubines. Protected from the sun in the sheltered gallery, the frescoes remain in remarkably good condition, their colours still glowing.
This rock just north of the Sigiriya, offers amazing views of Sigiriya from its summit. The hike to the top, passes several small temples, and a reclining Buddha. Most people come at sunset (bring a torch for the trip down) but a sunrise visit is equally beautiful and much less crowded.
Explore the Royal Gardens
The base of the Sigiriya rock is a beautifully landscaped area dotted with formal water features, terraced gardens and natural boulders that were once home to numerous Buddhist shrines. It’s a beautiful place to explore away from the crowds.
A selection of tours to Sigiriya
Sri Lanka & The Maldives Group Tour Culture
Sri Lanka Highlights
12 day tour from £2,099
This 12 day tour of Sri Lanka includes history, wildlife, tea and beaches