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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Places to Visit in Sigiriya
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Places to Visit in Sigiriya

Sigiriya is one of the most fabled areas of Sri Lanka, encompassing thousands of years of history, which means there are many incredible places for you to explore.

1

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

This massive citadel is hands down the most iconic of attractions and is what puts Sigiriya on the map. Any hotel located in the area such as the Water Garden Sigiriya is bound to feature a visit to this majestic heritage site on their offerings of things to do in Sigiriya. Being thousands of years old, this monumental achievement in urban planning baffles scientists of the modern age, which is why UNESCO listed it as a world heritage site. The beautiful frescoes that adorn the walls of the fortress are also one of the most identifiable items of Sri Lanka.

2

Pidurangala Rock

This incredible place is consistently overlooked by Sigiriya enthusiasts. Situated just about two kilometres away from the Sigiriya fortress, this massive rock contains an ancient temple that is just as old as the citadel of Sigiriya. It has been consistently used as a Buddhist monastery, although it became a very prominent locale during the reign of King Kashyapa from 473- 495 AD.

3

Sigiriya Museum

If you’d like to get an in-depth account of the history of this ancient and fabled city, then this is the place for you. The museum has an audio-visual program that provides a comprehensive recollection of the city’s history. The exhibits, however, have garnered some scrutiny since they are quite limited and there are not many items from during the reign of King Kashyapa. The museum’s bookshop, however, is rated quite highly and offers a strong collection of books about the history of Sri Lanka.

4

Minneriya National Park

This expansive wildlife sanctuary is located a short distance away from Sigiriya, and is built around a very ancient structure from the third century. The park contains the Minneriya reservoir, which was constructed to provide irrigation to the surrounding land. It was constructed by King Mahasena. A dynamic park composed of forest, scrubland and grassland, the Minneriya National Park provides refuge to a massive range of animals including 160 species of birds and more than 25 species of reptiles. Even sloth bears can be sighted here along with plenty of Elephants. During the dry seasons, from July to September, a phenomenon known as ‘the gathering’ occurs, where herds of up to three hundred elephants will gather at the reservoir to find water.

5

Dambulla Temple

About 24 km away from Sigiriya you will find perhaps the best example of a cave temple in Sri Lanka. The Dambulla Temple has been a place of worship for more than two thousand years and is still maintained and fully functional today. The temple complex is of mythological status, and it’s recorded history goes all the way back to 89BC when King Valagama was in power. The interior of the temple is a spectacular sight, featuring more than a hundred and fifty Buddha statues in various poses along with many other statues of ancient kings and spiritual deities. The painted walls of the cave have been maintained for centuries by the residing monks and display many scenes of royal life.

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