The city served as the royal residence for only eleven years; following a pivotal battle, Kassapa was defeated by his brother, and took his own life. Afterwards, Sigiriya was given to monks, and fell into a long, slow decline.
Today, highlights of Sigiriya include the Mirror Wall, so-named because it was once constructed from highly polished porcelain; the stunning frescoes of Sigiriya, reminiscent of India's Ajanta Caves; and the palace itself, surrounded by a complex network of moats, reservoirs, cisterns, gardens and additional structures.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
Take an early morning flight over the mountains, lakes and lotus ponds of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle in a hot air balloon. Soaring up to 2,500 feet above the landscape, your flight will offer spectacular bird’s-eye views of the ancient forests and tranquil villages of the countryside, culminating with an unparalleled aerial view of Sigiriya Rock Fortress. From October to May only.
Sigiriya is abundant with shrubbery and jungle, providing an ideal natural habitat for various species of birds. Go twitching with a local bird spotter and pair of high-tech binoculars in the Sigiriya bird sanctuary, and see if you spot the Indian Cuckoo, a Ceylon Green-Pigeon, a Brown Fish-Owl or a Thick-Billed Flower Pecker, amongst many others.
Take a ride on a traditional Sri Lankan bullock-cart around the Lion Rock Fortress and the surrounding jungle, wildlife and local villages. After your bullock-cart ride hop on board a simple local style boat and cruise the nearby lake for an alternative view of the great Sigiriya rock, once built on as an ancient king’s hideaway. Meander along the waters enjoying the natural paradise, where beautiful butterflies and birds flit between wild flowers and grassy verges.
Sigiriya and Dambulla are two areas that are often combined into a one-day trip. It’s possible to combine various experiences from Sigiriya and Dambulla in the same day, just mix and match whatever suits your interests.
Go on an easy elephant trek around the Lion Rock Fortress in Sigiriya. The gentle giants will take you through the green undergrowth and sparkling lake at the foot of the fortress to observe to astounding formation from ground level or more precisely elephant-back level. The elephant will trail through the waters and you will have the chance to feed and bathe the animals alongside your personal expert mahout.
Visit Sigiriya, the “Lion’s Rock.” Climb the massive rock formation, more than 650 feet (198 meters) high, which was carved into a small city fortress by a king in the 5th century. Once home to palace residences, swimming pools and fountains, Sigiriya employed sophisticated hydraulic technology to elevate water to the summit. It has the rare distinction of being both a natural and man-made wonder of the world, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Visit Pidurangala Temple, a small Buddhist temple built by the founder king of Sigiriya, located just a mile away from Lion Rock. In ancient times the king came across a community of monks and hermits occupying the area, the king built this temple complex to house them.
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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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Whether your trip to Sri Lanka includes the stunning beaches in the south, the lush highlands terraced with tea plantations or a wildlife safari in one of its national parks, it’s worth making the effort to venture into the country’s heart to explore the Cultural Triangle to get a deeper sense of history.
Sigiriya gets all the good press, but Pidurangala has the best view. For trekkers looking for the best possible vantage in the region, Pidurangala is the hike to beat.
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