Check Sigiriya on the Sri Lanka map

Sigiriya (Lion's rock) is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos),[1] which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiriya was built during the reign of King Kassapa I (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by King Kasyapa. Following King Kasyapa's death, it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. . The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana in his renowned two-volume work, published by Oxford, Sigiri Graffiti. He also wrote the popular book "Story of Sigiriya".
The Mahavamsa, the ancient historical record of Sri Lanka, describes King Kasyapa as the son of King Dhatusena. Kasyapa murdered his father by walling him alive and then usurping the throne which rightfully belonged to his brother Mogallana, Dhatusena's son by the true queen. Mogallana fled to India to escape being assassinated by Kasyapa but vowed revenge. In India he raised an army with the intention of returning and retaking the throne of Sri Lanka which he considered was rightfully his. Knowing the inevitable return of Mogallana, Kasyapa is said to have built his palace on the summit of Sigiriya as a fortress and pleasure palace. Mogallana finally arrived and declared war. During the battle Kasyapa's armies abandoned him and he committed suicide by falling on his sword. Chronicles and lore say that the battle-elephant on which Kasyapa was mounted changed course to take a strategic advantage, but the army misinterpreted the movement as the King having opted to retreat, prompting the army to abandon the king altogether. It is said that being too proud to be surrendered he took his dagger from the waist band, cut his throat, raised the dagger proudly, sheathed it and fell dead.[citation needed] Moggallana returned the capital to Anuradapura, converting Sigiriya into a monastery complex.
Alternative stories have the primary builder of Sigiriya as King Dhatusena, with Kasyapa finishing the work in honour of his father. Still other stories have Kasyapa as a playboy king, with Sigiriya a pleasure palace. Even Kasyapa's eventual fate is mutable. In some versions he is assassinated by poison administered by a concubine. In others he cuts his own throat when isolated in his final battle.[5] Still further interpretations have the site as the work of a Buddhist community, with no military function at all. This site may have been important in the competition between the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions in ancient Sri Lanka.
Sigiriya consists of an ancient castle built by King Kasyapa during the 5th century AD. The Sigiriya site has the remains of an upper palace sited on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes, the lower palace that clings to the slopes below the rock, and the moats, walls and gardens that extend for some hundreds of metres out from the base of the rock.
The site is both a palace and fortress. Despite its age, the splendour of the palace still furnishes a stunning insight into the ingenuity and creativity of its builders. The upper palace on the top of the rock includes cisterns cut into the rock that still retain water. The moats and walls that surround the lower palace are still exquisitely beautiful.
More information.

Recommended review time for sightseeing: 2 h 30 m

Sightseeings nearby
Tourist reviews about Sigiriya

Must see and experience.
IndoCanad... [TA], , Toronto, Canada

Well maintained and well run site. If you are in the area it is must experience. The climb can be a bit arduous. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot sun. Should allocate at least 3-4 hours. Can be a bit windy in the upper reaches - no loose clothing or objects or you might lose them. At times the hornets become active and you have to be careful.

toby w [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

stunning view and a glimpse of the ancient kingdom of 1500 years. the climb itself is something that should be done before 11 am or you will suffer from the heat. you need to get your tickets which are sort of expensive, but still worth it. My highliht of my visit here.

Well worth a visit
RC_Bris [TA], , Bristol, United Kingdom

Get here early so you can climb before its too hot or too busy and enjoy great views across the surrounding countryside.

Stunning, stunning, outstanding
Francesca... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

You have to visit Sigiriya if you're in the area whilst in Sri Lanka. An amazing world Heritage site, you can hardly believe what was built thousands of years ago on this Island.

We went early in the morning, ideal. As you can climb the steps in the shade. Definitely take water with you.

LucyMorre... [TA], , Liverpool, United Kingdom

This is such an amazing place! Make sure you go early in the morning or early evening so its not too hot when you are climbing up. I was apprehensive about the climb up as it is quite daunting and I am not a gym goer or fit in anyway, however I managed to get up with a couple of rests along the way (which is a good opportunity to see the views!) The views from the top of the rock are stunning and well worth the climb up! This really is a must see if you are in the area! Be aware if you are afraid of heights (as I am!) coming down can be pretty scary! The metal stairs have gaps in them and it is a very big vertical drop underneath....

Expensive but still worth a look
Slatedogg [TA], ,

The views from the top of the Rock are breathtaking. The colour of the water down below and the hills in the distance are a mixture of beautiful colours rarely found in oil paintings. Get there early to avoid long queues and you will be able dash up to the top and take your time then see the rest at your leisure on the way down.
It takes about 40 minutes walking at an easy pace to get to the top but you do need to be in reasonable shape to make it up the steps without getting flustered.
Yes, it does cost $30 to get in but you will see that there are people at work all over the site ensuring that the whole place is litter free and looking as scenic as it possibly can. I don't mind paying over the odds of I can see where my money is going. I visited a lot of expensive sites in India which were a state to be honest. Like visiting a dump that happened to have a temple in the middle. So thumbs up from me.

Inspiring historical site
Mr. MJB [TA], , Cheltenham, United Kingdom

Party of 4 average age 65 found this a wonderful morning out. We had the advantage of an excellent driver for our 8 day tour who was also a qualified and licensed guide so we did not have to pay extra at any of the historical sites for a guide. One of our party has lung disease and decided to go to the Lions paw only, which was achieved reasonably well but the other three went to the top without the need for any assistance. Some people have commented on the cost. We take the view that this is a once in a lifetime visit and well worth the money. Health and Safety practitioners in Western Europe would take a sharp intake of breath but we are glad we pressed on. The climb is spectacular and the views once you start climbing the rock itself are rewarding. The murals are amazingly well preserved but to be honest we were a little underwhelmed by the mirrored rock. We could see no reflection whatsoever and it looked very recently restored ( or exceedingly well preserved depending on your level of cynicism) We were not troubled by hornets and our driver went to the hut where free protection jackets are provided on request but he was persuaded that we would not need them and as this was on a full morn weekend there were a lot of locals on a day trip and quite a bit of noise was being made as we passed the nests. Without underestimating how frightened people must be if the hornets do swarm, I think you would be very unfortunate if your visit was spoiled and the risk would not deter me from doing this climb again

Spectacular Site
PeteMontr... [TA], , Montreal, Canada

Spectacular site well worth the visit. Go early in the day before the sun and heat builds and enjoy the climb up. Also an early climb can avoid the crowds.

You definitely do not require a guide, so avoid the people at the base willing to help you. They say 'the cost is included in the ticket price', but this is simply a hook, so don't get fooled.

It can be a slightly scary climb upwards the rock, sometimes straight up a metal circular staircase, but still rather safe. Often can get very windy, so hang on to your hats. Also, although there very large wasp nests on distant rock overhangs, the site is carefully monitored, so no real worry.

Once on top you can explore the ruins, as well as the marvelous views below. A great way of spending a couple of hours

Take water, a guide and good shoes
Blackgeof... [TA], , Leamington Spa, United Kingdom

This was lots of fun. And lots of climbing. This area was a fortress for a king who had stolen power and ended up making it into an artsy palace and water garden with fab views and some muscle bound defenses for himself and his 500 girlfriends.. With a special room for the top 10 special ladies just next to the throne. You've gotta respect his staying power. Nice energy all around the place. Some parts of the walk up are a bit knee shaking.. Try not to squeal at the top as it will risk unleashing the hornets on you and everyone around you.

Do it!
nidabloom [TA], , Melbourne

Cannot miss this if in Sri Lanka!

Impressive, picturesque.

Say no to the 'guides' at the front, even if they pretend to be starting normal conversation.
Best before the hottest part of the day. Bring water and a skirt may not be the best option as it gets very windy. Bathroom is before you cross the moat, near the museum!

Incredible place but you need a good head for heights
nicknickx... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

We'll worth a visit but you need to be prepared to climb a lot of steps and to be good with heights . Your reward is amazing views from the top and a chance to find out about the history of this site which has ancient frescos and architecture. Our guide was excellent and very informative and street vendors did not hassle us.

Interesting challenge
Derek J [TA], , Brighton, United Kingdom

A great challenge to climb Lion Rock. My grandchildren are 9 and 6 and they enjoyed the challenge but anyone troubled by heights should avoid it.

Part of the cultural triangle
585Petr [TA], , Eastbourne, United Kingdom

Warned by our driver / guide in advance against intrusive "guides", we sent them away immediately, and this was the only black spot on otherwise great experience climbing up to see wall paintings, walking alongside mirror wall, still with some reflexions, and finally reaching the top of the rock, enjoying combination of natural heritage and view to the jungle. We explored entire top, including the part offering the view to the lake and village, which we visited later. In summary, must see attraction, but be aware of local chaps which could spoil your impression by their intrusive behaviour.

SatuJonna [TA], , Riihimaki, Finland

The climb itself wasn't that bad if you are at least in somewhat good physical condition. The fortress and the surroundings are beautiful. The view from the top is literally breathtaking. Watch out for the monkeys. We saw them steal stuff from people!

Amazing climb
Theresa M [TA], , Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

We loved this place. It's not for the faint hearted, but defintely worth the climb. I took my cool it mama spritz, available from www.naturalbirthingcompany . this helped me focus on the climb ahead.
Breathtaking scenery and wildlife! A must if your visiting Sri Lanka x

Worth the visit
mauricio5... [TA], , Sao Jose Dos Campos, SP

Climbing the Sigiriya Rock is a must do when in Sigiriya, the view is great and you can see all the region from there... really worth to go!

Ancient Proud
Umani W [TA], ,

It's a symbol of amazing architecture of ancient sri lanka.
King Kashyapa had built this kingdom long time back. But still we can see it's standing there with pride. You must see all over the place not only climb the rock.

A unique mountain
Usha65 [TA], , Hyderabad, India

It is a unique mountain. The shape itself is fascinating and it is really incredible to see life on top of the mountain. The pool, the plantation and the ruins are wonderful site. Especially after knowing the history of this mountain it is all the more desiarable to see.

Beautiful view from the rocks and beautiful building of the museum - highly recommend for architects
Zsuzsa N [TA], , Bratislava, Slovakia

The huge area of Sigiriya takes 2,5 hour to see, but it's highly recommended, because of "muntain" climbing for nature lovers, because of the top view for tourists, because of ground plan and visualisation for architects. I really love the museum building, witch is so simply and modern - unfortunately in bad condition, as usual in Sri Lanka.

Twice impressed
Shaltoni [TA], , New Delhi, India

I have been twice to the rock, once in a work trip as journalist and second with my family.
I was twice impressed with the view and enviroment
Its littile hard but really worth it. You will feel delighted when at the top of the place
Make sure you read about it before hand
If with kids allowe some helpers to give you a ahnd as it is helpfull for adding to thier enjoyment
Dont forget to watch the snake show at the end

Fascinating and amazing views
SteJenny [TA], ,

Sigiriya is a very unique place. Upon arrival you purchase your tickets which are a bit pricey at €30 then walk across the moat into the excavated water gardens. The water gardens have been excavated on the left side but untouched on the right as they are waiting for the next generation to complete these with more modern equipment.
It's about a 600m walk through these gardens which are full of wildlife, especially monkeys and of course the stray dogs that feature all across Sri Lanka. From the water gardens you the start your ascent which is not difficult as it is all stairs and no rough walking.
About one third of the way up you stop at the cave paintings which although small are interesting. From there it is a small climb up to the lions landing.
This gives an impressive glance into the grandure of the site in its glory. There are two giant lions claws and rumour has it above this used to be a wooden lions structure where visitors to the palace would have to enter through the lions mouth. Now you just start a climb on well secured metal staircases to the top. I have to point out all the walkways are well maintained and feel very secure (even for someone who isn't that keen on heights).
The view from the top is special and depending on the haze you can see for miles. It is surprisingly large at the top and you can spend a good 30 minutes walking around the palace foundations and swimming pool (after all who wants a palace on top of a 200m high rock if it doesn't come with a swimming pool.).
We didn't find it a hard walk but do it in the morning or afternoon otherwise it's very hot.

completely amazing
fats81 [TA], , London, United Kingdom

a must - see
should go with a guide otherwise the beauty and intricacies of this place may be lost on you

Must do this, magnificent
Emanpee [TA], , Sydney, Australia

This was one of the best places we visited in our 2 weeks around Sri Lanka. Moderate fitness level is best but, if not, by taking your time, resting regularly along the way, and drinking plenty of water, making the top should be achievable by most. Allow about 2 hours as there is plenty to take in along the way and views from the top offer a full 360 degree view of the landscape and countryside below. Going earlier, leaving the carpark by around 9am, should afford the clearest views from the summit. You start with a very pleasant walk along a flat well maintained path, surrounded by nice grassed gardens bordered by man made water canals. As you head towards the rock, you take in wonderful views of it. Once you have reached the base of the rock, it is a fairly steady and continuous stairway climb to the top but with plenty of places to rest as you take in nice views of the park below. Along the way you will also nice natural archways and interesting rock formations and caves plus areas man made, sculptured out for priests, the kings and guests. Frescos are in a closed in area on side of mountain to preserve them and must be seen. All of women and in very good condition. Beyond the frescos it is another climb of around 15 minutes to the stone lions' paws at the base of the final staircase to palace ruins on top of the rock. Take a rest here and motivate yourself to make the final ascent up the staircase to the top. As well as the ruins, the views are outstanding if you have a clear day. We didn't find crowds a problem and most people are prepared to stand aside if holding others back, but there will be the odd selfish individual likely to be encountered. There are toilets in the carpark area only.

Truly magnificent heritage site in Sri Lanka
Gavin2009 [TA], , Colombo

After climbing the rock fortress more than a 100 times let me break down its importance for you readers.

Look for 4 outer defense systems, Understand the beauty of the system of ponds, fountains, and system of waterways, climb more than1300 steps to the summit (199 meters), don't miss the giant pocket where you view the paintings of the beautiful maidens of Sigiriya, Walk pass the mirror wall and understand the ancient scriptures, be silent at 'lions paw' do not disturb the bees, enjoy the summit, sit where the king sat to view the surrounding, descend to the guard cave look out, come back down through the so called cobra head caves, refresh (300-450 per glass of fresh juice) and purchase local souvenirs by the coach park area where there are rest rooms (toilets), and try to understand this world heritage site which one exile king called Kassapa grabbed from the monks and built his kingdom and enjoyed only for a very short time, where he fell foolishly in battle against his step brother prince Mugalan in a lake in Habarana. Best times to climb 0700-0900hrs or 1500-1700hrs, costs $ 30 per foreign visitor also includes the museum, enjoy your climb and if this helps say YES!

Claire K [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Brilliant trip, guided by our driver Kumar. 3900 rs and you get access to the museum as well as the rock itself. The frescos are out of this world and the views from the top stunning. A must do if in Habarana.

To all Travellers
lakshmani... [TA], , Kandy, Sri Lanka

This is a very beautiful rock fortress which was built by the ancient king of sri lanka with many water parks and ancient paintings and remains of the old palace please make note to all sri lankans have your srilankan when you visit this site or you will have to pay the tourist rate

Amazing place
Richard K [TA], , London, United Kingdom

This is a spectacular attraction. It is a hard climb and not for those with a problem with heights but it is well worth the effort. The views from the top are fantastic and when you think about a fortress on the top it must have been an amazing place in its time. A Sri Lankan must visit sight. Highly recommended - take water with you, you will need it.

shithari... [TA], , mathara sri lanka

we had a gret trip sigiriya it,s was amazing this rock fortress was built by king kasyapa in the 5th
century it is regarded as the 8th wonder of the ancient world

Go early!
Nigel B [TA], , Rotorua

Amazing site.
We took a guide that got us through a few bottlenecks on the climb up . Artwork on the walls of the cave on the way up amazing
Got caught by a hornet attack which happens from time to time so unable to get to the summit but our guide was good and got us down safely
Bring a small umbrella , go early , get a guide , bring water
Definitely worth a visit

Probably the best value of the big sites.
Margaret... [TA], , Toowoomba, Australia

Starting early (0730) we made straight for the rock first to beat the crowds and climb in the cool.That worked well and all the sights made it worth effort. We took in all the gardens on the way back and then went on to the museum. It all took about 4 hrs, so if you can, allow enough time because like all the tourist places it's expensive(3900LKR). There people around doing the gardening but otherwise not sure where all the money is going.

Wonderful views from the top
Voyageur7... [TA], , Saffron Walden

Take your time, don't rush, the ruined royal palace and the views all around are spectacular. Try to go as early in the day as possible before it gets too hot!

Must see
UnluckyTr... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Yes its very crowded, and yes some people clearly visit it just to tick it off a bucket list but it is stunning. The walk up is very easy, and the views of the rock from all over the site are stunning. I'd recommend staying close to the rock and getting there early for some peace on the top.

Great, but ridiculously over priced!!!
cute73537 [TA], , Brighton

Great, but ridiculously over priced!!!
Went up at 11am, back at 2pm
Would recommend earlier or later as too hot at this time.

Impressive, but....
Marsonia [TA], , Osijek, Croatia

The Sigiriya rock is impressive and beautifull, but beware of two things: it is a high climb and the tickets are expensive (around 30 USD).
Since I cannot climb all those steps (I am afraid of heights) the ticket was just too expensive just to see the gardens and that made me very sad (I was not the only one in this situation - authorities should think about selling less expensive tickets for those that want to see the site, but doesn't want or simply cannot climb the Sigiriya rock).
However, my husband did climb all the way up and was extatic - so it must be worth the climb.
I stayed outside and enjoyed the scenery that is peacefull and beautifull, watching monkeys and elephant (there is someone renting an elephant for a ride in the vincinity) and taking photographs. If you find yourself in this situation there is a good spot for photos by the lake, not far from the entrance road (a 100 m or so at the main road)

worth the climb
trishla99 [TA], , India

hire a guide ... it helps ... for the information one gets out of them is quite informative . its beautiful on top n a place for great pics !! esp if you lucky with monks as well :)

Amazing site and great way to understand Sri Lanka's heritage
Tom P [TA], , Canberra, Australia

What an amazing site! To think that this was a majestic palace hundreds of years ago is unthinkable. The buildings would have been awe inspiring and a shock to the pre-fab construction era of today. We had a very good tour guide and a must if going up to the top otherwise you are just looking at slot of ruins and not understanding what use to be here and why it was built.
A lot of stairs to the top and if you are scared of heights this does test your wits. But you cannot go to Sri Lanka and not climb to the top of the rock. A breathtaking view and and an good snapshot of the geographical layout of the country. Dry, flat and arid in some parts while the central south, mountains and forests for as far as the eye can see.
Head off in the afternoon about 3pm and get to the top for just about sunset. But take water and a guide. Our tour guide for the trip arranged to meet someone there so not sure if you should just pay for someone there as You may get ripped off.

Worth the climb
100worldt... [TA], , Gaithersburg, Maryland

Lots of stairs, but worth the view! Go early in the day as it gets hotter as the sun hits the side with the stairs.

Amazing Heights, Sprawling Complex!
JnTaz [TA], , Burnaby, Canada

I rank this site as right up there with Rome or the Vatican as just as amazing!
We found that the 3 hours spent here was well worth the effort..and there is a huge effort required. If you are afraid of heights, you may suffer here as I did but gettign to the top and getting down was such a thrilling achievement! It isn't physically hard, if you are in decent shape but it is hot and you will need water!!
And Sun Block!
It is truly an amazing site, there are so many photo oppurtunities, subject material is abundant.
If you don't do Sigiriya Rock..then you can't say you have been to Sri Lanka!
Sigiriya is a fantastic and amazing place, to miss it is a big mistake.

Worth every carb!
AdamCW92 [TA], , Horsham, United Kingdom

This truly was a great experience. The walk was not as hard as i first thought, although I'm 21 and quite fit so that probably helped. I did see some 'larger' people and they seemed to struggle towards the end. I love my photography and this walk was perfect for it. Plenty of brown macaques and monitor lizards too. Costs roughly 40 pounds to go up it which is on the expensive side, especially since their are other climbs and walks which can match this view. However you get to see the religious importance of this rock, the paintings and the stories behind it which is cool.

Overall, a remarkable place. Great view from top, plenty of places to take refuge on the way up. Take a bottle of water and enjoy! Earlier would be better since Sri Lanka does get HOT!

Breathtaking views
saxena_aj... [TA], , Hyderabad, India

Climbing Sigirya is an awesome experience. the cloud shadows play with the scenery around providing beautiful panoramas.

Interesting Walk
Siumun [TA], , Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The journey to the top is more exciting then the destination. The painting in the cave is artistic. The view from the top is pretty nice, make sure you go all the way up.

Tips : you don't have to hire a guide, it is very easy to be self-guided.

Not for wimps or the unfit
Pon99 [TA], , Salisbury, United Kingdom

Tough and very interesting climb to the top but wow what views when you arrive at the top. We've both very fit so it wasn't really a problem but believe it or not we actually saw a Chinese gentleman being pushed up the climb to the summit of the rock by his guide!!

Worth a trip
Ada H [TA], , Glasgow, United Kingdom

Sigiriya is really worth a trip. It's an interesting site in the middle of the jungle. It is amazing to explore and makes one wonder what people could do without any modern technology. Try to go as early as possible as the heat makes the climb much more difficult.

One downside - given you pay good money for the privilege, I would have appreciated some sort of safe guarding from the stray dogs and monkeys. I am not trying to sound like a spoiled westerner, but given there is quite a lot of rabies in Sri Lanka, I found the presence of said animals quite unnerving. They come to look for food from the tourists and they are definitely not shy! Bring wet wipes and/or a sanitiser with you!

Well worth it.
pensioner... [TA], , Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

A great experience! Try and go either early or late as the queues up the spiral staircase to the wall paintings create a huge bottleneck. Not for the faint hearted or unable to climb a continuous sequence of steps/stairs, but the views and ruins at the top are great. The gardens are a delight to wander around as well. One of THE highlights of our tour of Sri Lanka

Must see!
Tsntai [TA], ,

Great experience. We booked a guide who did a great job explaining the interesting things about the place and the amazing achitechture. Still amazing what they coild build so many years ago. More than 1000 steps but the view all the way is worth it. Dont miss this.

Worth visiting & having a great driver to take us here!
angelfish... [TA], , Manila, Philippines

We came from Colombo for this day trip. We left at 630am from the hotel to make sure we would not encounter the Colombo traffic that was starting to build up.From Colombo,our hired driver Mr. Asiri ((mobile +94 77 071 5118 took us here in 3.5 hour ,with his defensive driving skills & not much traffic,luckily. He was referred by his partner Mr Praneeth Prasanka ( since Praneeth was not available. Their company is sanctioned by the Sri Lankan Tourism Authority & have insurance, clean air conditioned car.Driver/Guide speaks good English & trustworthy.We had him for 5 days from the airport pick up to tours around Sri Lanka to airport drop off. Charges were very reasonable)
We arrived at the site & Asiri coordinated with a guide to take & assist us to the top. The guide charged $20 for 2 persons excluding the entrance fees which is US$30@. It took my husband & I about an hour with rest stops before reaching the top. Some areas have steep steps, so be careful. There are rest areas on the way up but no restrooms, so you will have to go before you ascend the rock. The restroom is right across the area where you buy tickets.Buy the tickets before you ascend,its a long way to go back There were no attacking wasps as mentioned in other reviews. Although there remains a warning about it. You get to see a wonderful view when you reach the top. Along the way you see the frescoes & the Lion's Paw which are the most popular sights. The descent was easier at 45 minutes.

awesome walk!
Objective... [TA], , Chengdu

really nice place to visit, the walk is enjoyable, the scenery is amazing when u reach the top, however just at the steps of the palace, the stairs, in my opinion, are not 100% safe. if u have fear of heights u will have anxiety.

Amazing and Worth.
samlanka [TA], , Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

Considered as the 8th wonder of the world, Sigiriya is not missed by many tourist. It is 200 meters (660 Feet) approximately in height. The name is derived from the ancient Sinhalese name Sinha + Giriya meaning Lions Rock. Dating back to the 5th Century AD, Sigiriya was the Citadel of King Moggallana. AS soon as entered the the ponds on the right hand side has been excavated and the left side has been kept for the future generations. Every thing here is symmetrical. The frescoes are beautiful, the mirror wall is wonderful and even to date the shine is intact to a certain level and the lion entrance where the steps are right in-between the lions paws. On the summit is the palace of the king and a large pond. In all the caves around the drip-ledge could be seen as in later periods this had been a meditation center for Buddhist Monks. Museum is worth a visit too. Climbing Sigiriya is not difficult even though in some places the steps are narrow. Water is a must to carry.

Go early!
Dahabtrav... [TA], , Dahab Egypt

The ticket office opens at 7am and the earlier you can start your visit the better. It is quite a climb to the summit, so it's best done when the temperature is cooler. Also, it becomes crowded with tour groups as the morning progresses.
It's well worth doing but at $30 it is expensive.

Enjoyable and memorable
Susan L [TA], , Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I was looking forward to visit Sigiriya and I was not disappointed.
The sight of the rock when we see it from afar is breathtaking and as we made our way towards it, it's gets more impressive.
We were there on a cloudy, windy day which made our climb up rather hard, but it was worth it. The climb can be very steep at certain parts, but there are steps and railings for safety, hence it's still ok for those for have fear of heights. Just make sure you have a pair of good shoes for the climb and a bottle of water.
At the top of the rock, it's only left with the foundations of ruins, but the view from the top is well worth the effort. The sight feels like an Asia's version of Machu Picchu and despite the cost of the entrance fee, lack of ruins at the top, I'll still recommend this place.

Great site for those who like the view from up high
Sallie S [TA], , Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

My husband and I visited Sigiriya and found it fascinating. We began by exploring the grounds where you can see how the water works and gardens were landscaped. We walked through the boulders and began an assent to the top of the rock. About midway we toured the Aspara paintings which are in shallow caves on the face of the rock. These 5th century paintings are awesome. We then climbed on up to the Lion staircase, a spectacular plaza about 3/4 the way to the top. My husband, who loves to climb to the top of all sites, proceeded up the stairs to the top of the rock. He said that the terraced palace site and the view of the surrounding area was spectacular. The sunset as we made our descent was very beautiful. I recommend this site especially for those visitors interested in history.

Amazing view!
Barbara F [TA], , Antwerp, Belgium

The view was amazing and worth every step. Even the walk to the rock through the gardens was a great experience. Don't forget to bring a lot of water.

Don`t miss this world heritage site
Buriti [TA], , São Paulo

Extremely interesting part of the country`s history. The gardens are very well kept, and a steep walk up to the top can afford great views.

Tiring but Worth It!
Martyr911 [TA], , Kotte

It's best to climb early in the morning before it gets too crowded with the staircase otherwise your knees start hurting really bad but enduring the pain till we get to the top is all worth it because of the view that simply takes your breath away.

Amazing watch out for the Guides
paulahal [TA], , Dublin, Ireland

Sigriya itself is an amazing experience. Huge in scale, wondrous in nature. Great experience if a little scary i almost gave up but my lovely hubby encouraged me and i got to the top ( and he is the one withe the fear okf heights!)
I would have liked a better guide though to learn more about the history. Helpers attach themselves to you and we though they were part of the steep entry price. They were forceful and rather than fight we just let them help. At the bottom we took money out to give them a tip but they refused and demanded more money quite an exorbitant rate actually.

Loved it
Elyafi [TA], ,

A good walk.. Well organized... Beautiful views. Went up there with a 4 year old, 7 and 11 year Olds... Some areas were not very safe but we're manageable.

You'll need a head for heights!
hampshire... [TA], , Southampton, United Kingdom

A stunning historical site - make sure you wear decent footwear. My vertigo got the better of me half way up but my husband and daughter made it via very precarious steps. Well worth the effort if you're braver than me!

8th world wander
PriyangaC... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

this is a must visit if you visiting Sri Lanka. This place has great value when it comes to ancient architectural and technology.

Wonderful Sri Lanka
Molly W [TA], , Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

I recently spent two weeks in Sri Lank with three friends. It was one of the best holidays I have ever had. We toured around visiting many of the ancient world heritage sites, such as Sigiriya, Historic Polonaruwa, Anuradhapura, the Caves of Dambulla, as well as having days at Kandy with its beautiful botanical gardens, Hunnas Falls and beautiful beaches such as the Camellia Resort, Nilaveli Beach and wonderful Marissa Bay. The country was so beautiful and the people so friendly.

What made the visit absolutely perfect was our wonderful guide Siri and his driver Pria, who kept the minibus clean every day. They could not do enough for you and were great company. Siri planned a brilliant itinerary for us, but was flexible. He was extremely knowledgeable and interesting in explaining the country’s history. We had so much fun So if you are thinking of visiting this country, do visit Siri’s web site

A nice climb and beautiful paintings!!!
thelmatt [TA], , india

A real climb but worth every step!
The Sigiriya paintings are wow! The view on top is great and was real cool after the heat of the climb.
Do it early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.

A Must
watermast... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Sigiriya is a must for any Sri Lanka itinerary.
It's a huge site - with lovely 'water gardens' at the base.
(shame it wasn't raining as the water to 'power' the water gardens comes off the top of the rock!
The main focus is on the rock - which entails a fairly hair raising climb.
It looks worse than it is and for the majority of people is definitely achievable.
Just keep on going.
The view from the top is stunning.
The murals on the way up are stunning.
The palace, perched right on top of the rock must have been majestic in its time.
Definitely worth it.

Manoul [TA], , Beirut, Lebanon

It wasn't my best experience ever.. I don't like to climb this unsafe place.. A cable car can be more interesting for me.. Could be an idea

Amazing views from the top
Kate W [TA], , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

I used a local guide and I'm glad I did, I learnt so much more. The climb up the rock was not so difficult and the views from the top were amazing. It is worth a visit.

LeethalLe... [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

This 5th century palace is well worth the visit. The walk is tricky if you have vertigo, but the view from the top is worth it, especially the lovely pool there. The surrounding gardens are also impressive.
My 5 year old managed the walk to the very top, but it proved too much of a challenge for my 7 and 8 year old.
There are many local men, who try to help you on the way up, hoping for a tip. But we ignored their attentions.
The cost was around USD30 for adults and USD15 for children.

Well worth the 1200 steps
MozzaAdel... [TA], , Adelaide

A great day but do it first thing in the morning before all the buses full of tourists arrive. It takes awhile to get to the top but it is worth the 1200 steps up and you can do it at a leisurely pace

Rebecca E [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Sigiriya was one of the highlights of our Sri Lanka tour. The walk up was thoroughly enjoyable. We are not particularly fit but didn't find it taxing, and the views are absolutely amazing.
We went on a cooler day in November - it was spitting for most of our downward journey - and I think that helped. In the roaring heat it may have been a much tougher walk.

worth the trip
brandon_h... [TA], , San Francisco, California

Great views at the top, good hike to get there, interesting gardens at the base. Be ready for the daunting spiral and end staircases, especially at crowded times.

Wonderful experience
tamarony [TA], ,

We spent the day in Sigiriya. we took a local train from Dambulla for just 30 rupees and arrived within 30 minutes. The entrance fee is 30 dollars per person which includes an entrance to the museum as well. The gardens surrounding the mountain are beautiful and if it is a nice day the views are incredible. The walk up isn't hard at all and doesn't take long. Although the museum was only built two ago it is a bitrun down which is ashame. By the way a deffinite highlight is the monkeys who are very cute and friendly. They aren't aggressive like in Thailand or china. A day well spent. In our opinion you don't need a private driver. Just do it like the locals and take the bus

Not to be missed
Kevin2012... [TA], , Male

Sigiriya is a world heritage site full of culture and history. Climb the rock to be at the top for sunset. It is an incredible view any time, but the sunset on a clear day is the icing on the cake. The climb can get a bit overcrowded, but at least that means that you are not exhausting yourself getting to the top. The frescos and mirror wall on the way up are interesting. The ruins are really intriguing. How a community could live in palatial surroundings on top of this rock is beyond imagination. Our driver ensured that we were there at the right time. Finding a good driver in Sri Lanka is not always easy, but I would recommend Nishan at We have used him twice and he ensures that you do not miss out on seeing attractions at the right time.

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