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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for 6 Places to Visit in Sigiriya- A Centrepiece of Ancient Empires
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6 Places to Visit in Sigiriya- A Centrepiece of Ancient Empires

A citadel that seems to wind back centuries with its vivid depictions of a courtly and dramatic past, Sigiriya blends nature-kissed poetry and culture-rich prose in the sensory performance of a lifetime. Here are some allurements you can't afford to miss!


Scale the Rock Fortress

Proffering an exhilarating climb that will leave you more than ready for the hearty Sri Lankan rice and curry awaiting your return, the UNESCO- listed Lion Rock is an unforgettable fortress that wouldn't look out of place in an epic fantasy. Looming with stately majesty over the undulating forested lands of central Sri Lanka, the rock itself is the result of hardened molten magma that stoppered an active volcano over 2 billion years ago and has since lived to be the site of theatrical legends. For instance, in 477 AD, King Kashyapa chose it as the base for his elegant palace, which still stands in impressive ruins, as well as the iconic lion gate inviting guests atop it with giant paws spread wide, and a beautiful medley of gardens, moats, extraordinary frescoes, and a vast mirrored wall graffitied with thousand-year-old inscriptions. With 1,200 steps and every rock-palace terrace presenting a new enchantment, the trek typically takes 2 hours, with a panoramic lookout to look forward to at the end.


Discover History at the Sigiriya Museum

Every heritage enclave is steeped in richly flavoured stories, and Sigiriya Citadel was the beautiful base of a strikingly advanced ancient civilisation, made evident by its amazing feats of engineering that were achieved hundreds of years ago. After a hearty breakfast and bracing cup of Ceylon tea or tropical fruit juice, you can refresh yourself with a cycle through the postcard-perfect village and drop in at the fascinating Sigiriya Archaeological Museum before you start your climb, so you can better appreciate the historical intricacies underlying the Lion Rock Fortress. Here, you will find the valuable curation of over three decades dedicated to archaeological research in the form of intricate dioramas, old-world artefacts, and even a human skeleton! The museum itself is an ode to sustainable architecture, hewn into the ancient rock itself and weaving artfully around majestic trees and water springs without damaging them.


Visit the Gentle Giants

While Sigiriya village has plenty to enrapture your attention, from retro art galleries inspired by the fortress and local handymen shops that craft intricate jewellery boxes, trinkets, and spice tins out of copper, silver, and brass to sweet restaurants wrapped in scenic serenity, an elephant jeep safari across Minneriya National Park should not be missed! If you're looking to charter an air taxi in Sri Lanka for picturesque luxury travel between your favourite destinations, venture no further than Cinnamon Air.


Float up in a Hot Air Balloon

If you can't get enough of drinking in the dreamy surroundings of Sigiriya from misty heights, the dramatically rugged rock citadel and its surrounding patchwork quilt of bejewelled greens and glistening waters can be gaped at from a hot air balloon as a tropical sunrise paints the sky. This memorable once-in-a-lifetime excursion costs around 200 USD per adult and includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet and certificate of flight.


Explore Kaudulla National Park

For more of Central Lanka's wealth of biodiversity, safari through Kaudulla National Park, where you can reacquaint with the native elephants in their gently graceful journeys, as well as witness the exotic assortment of birds and animals like sloth bears, sambar, and axis deer, that call this lush oasis their home.


Enjoy Picturesque Lake Views

Finally, a splash-worthy and majestic elephant or boat ride wading through the emerald depths of the village lake and taking Instagrammable shots of the proud fortress, antique settlement, and serene wildlife from the calm waters is the ideal way to close off your trip.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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