Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kashyapa for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure — Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site.
Sigiriya is located 175 kilometers north-east of Colombo – the capital of the island, and 10 kilometers from the highway Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Trincomale, located between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane.
To get there by car you must take the track A1 or A6. The best way to get there by public transportation is to take a bus from Dambulla.
There is a bus every 30 minutes starting from 7AM. The trip will take approximately 40 minutes.
A staircase of 1250 steps is leading to the highest point of Sigiriya. The way from the bottom to the top lasts approximately 2 hours. Because of the high temperatures during the day it is better to visit the place in the morning. Wear comfortable clothing, take water with you and don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen.
The ancient site is open every day from 7:00AM to 5:30PM (last entrance at 5:00PM).
Locals can enter the site after they pay a Rs50 entrance fee.
Foreigners will have to pay $30 USD. This will also grant access to the Sigiriya museum.