Hike to Pidurangala Rock

Standing in silence, about a kilometer away from Sigiriya is the Pidurangala rock. A peaceful yet challenging climb through a rock-monastic complex will take you to the crown of Pidurangala, which hands down is the best seat to watch the glorious Sigiriya beam with pride illuminated by the golden rays of the sunrise. A picturesque panoramic view of this iconic rock fortress surrounded by dense green forests and misty valleys with pin-drop silence only broken by the sounds of nature will surely leave you awestruck!

With a history dating back to the 5th century, this cave monastery at the 200-meter tall Pidurangala rock is known to be built by King Kashyapa. Legend says that it was built as an alternative offering to the monks who lived in Sigiriya at the time of King Kashyapa's arrival, as he wanted to build a fortress at Sigiriya instead. With spectacular views combined with a rich history of thousands of years of monks living and walking the paths of Pidurangala, it is a well-worthy hike.

For an adventure combined with a rewarding sunrise view and a little peace in the morning, we suggest you get to the base of the Pidurangala rock, which is the Pidurangala Rjamaha Viharaya at around 5 am for a stunning sunrise hike.

The trail is a rocky off-road ascending pathway through a jungle with having to hunch down and jump over tree roots, get through small rock cliffs, and walk through caves. This 30-40min hike to the summit is an easy-to-navigate trail and is not an overly difficult climb till the final lag.

The final part of the climb, however, might seem a bit tricky, as it requires a bit of bouldering and nailing one challenging step up to the summit.

With that step, you will arrive at the crown of Pidurangala rock and will instantly be transported to a whole other world; an Eden of green with a fairy touch of gold hues. Take a good long moment to soak in this stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding green valleys and the beaming Sigiriya rock fortress framed by jungles under the gorgeous chromatic skies. It is well worth your time.

After an extended quiet moment of savoring the isolation and the serenity at the top and a few pictures later, you can take the same route back to the base. And, on the way back, do not forget to explore the remains of the ancient cave temple with the reclining Buddha statue.

If you are not an early riser, we suggest you opt for a sunset hike, every bit of which also is equally mesmerizing at the top, under the tangerine skies.

Either way, Pidurangala has to be on your Sri Lanka bucket list.

  • Location: Matale district, Sri Lanka
  • Hike duration: 30 - 40 min
  • Height: 200 meters
  • Entrance fee: $3
  • Best time of the day to visit: Sunrise and Sunset (opt for a sunrise hike to avoid the crowd at the summit)
  • Best time of the year to visit: December to April
  • What to wear: Comfortable shoes. As you will be passing a temple at the base, you are required to remove your shoes and is required to be wearing clothes that cover your legs and shoulders. Therefore, take a shawl/wrap to cover yourself at this point of the trail.
  • What else to carry: A torch/headlamp, snacks, and water. Please note that it is a no-plastic zone.