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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 16, 2024
Headline for Top 5 reasons to visit Sigiriya – The Eighth Wonder!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 reasons to visit Sigiriya – The Eighth Wonder!

Sigiriya is considered the eighth wonder of the world by Sri Lankans due to the sheer feat of architecture and engineering constructed with the technology available in the 5th century. Though in ruins Sigiriya is a must-visit site in Sri Lanka and here's why.


Climb the Rock

The rock fortress was made the capital city of King Kashyapa I after he fled the former capital of Anuradhapura for fear of retaliation from his brother, the rightful heir to the throne after Kashyapa murdered their father. He reigned from 477 to 495 BC. The climb is scintillating, with five levels. At each level, you can see something new like the water gardens, the rock caves, the frescos on the face of the rock, the mirror wall and finally the ruins of the palace. The prominence of the rock makes it the main attraction in and around many a Sigiriya hotel, as the fortress towers over the otherwise flatlands of the former kingdom.



Despite the land surrounding the iconic rock is mostly flat farmland, there is also another small peak. Pidurangala gives the climber a beautiful view of Sigiriya and has recently become an Instagram hotspot. The mountain also comes with its tales and legends, including one that claims it is the final resting place of Kashyapa. There are remnants of an ancient temple, including a statue of the reclining Buddha on Pidurangala but nothing much else to see. It is the view that makes this small mountain worth the climb.


Hot Air Ballooning

Another great way to witness the magnitude and sheer beauty of Sigiriya and the surrounding countryside is to go hot air ballooning over the cultural triangle. The dramatic landscape will be laid out before you like a canvas so you can imagine what it must have been like in the days of kings. The best time to go hot air ballooning is from November to April.


Cycling Tours

If you are interested in Sri Lankan country life as well as exploring the deep history of the cultural triangle, a bicycle tour might be the most scenic way to go about it. You can also get a deep understanding of local agriculture and how the gigantic tanks constructed by ancient kings and those ancient irrigation systems are even today, providing water for paddy and Chena cultivation in the region.


Wildlife Experience

The area surrounding Sigiriya and the cultural triangle are home to many habitats of wild elephants including the famous Minneriya National Park. You can discuss with local hotels such as Heritance Kandalama to arrange safaris to these parks to see all kinds of wildlife that gather near the Minneriya tank; from elephants to leopards, monkeys, sloth bears, deer and water buffalo as well as hundreds of endemic and migratory birds. The watering holes make for great spots to look out for all the lush biodiversity that Sri Lanka is known all over the world for.