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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 21, 2023
Headline for How to Hike Pidurangala Rock - Guide to Trekking Up Pidurangala Rock
Joanna James Joanna James
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How to Hike Pidurangala Rock - Guide to Trekking Up Pidurangala Rock

As one of the most underrated hiking experiences in Sri Lanka, it is a pity that most tourists who climb up the Sigiriya Rock Fortress do not venture up Pidurangala Rock. Located near the iconic UNESCO Heritage Site but overshadowed both figuratively and literally by its popularity, Pidurangala Rock ironically provides some of the best vantage points from which to view Sigiriya. Here's everything you need to know about hiking up this lesser-known mountain in the Cultural Triangle.


Timing the Excursion

Although one can hike up Pidurangala Rock during most days of the year, it is best to visit the Cultural Triangle and the surrounding region during the drier months of the year. The peak tourist season from December to March is ideal for a hiking trip to the area and Pidurangala Rock in particular as the sunny weather conditions mean that the trek is safe and that rain will not threaten to spoil the views available from its staggering heights. It is best to head out on the hike in the early hours of the morning as the sun will start bearing down on visitors as midday approaches. Those who would prefer to scale up the rock after sundown should visit after 3 p.m. as the sun can be quite harsh until this time in the afternoon. Those who opt for a morning hike are also likely to have the place to themselves. Pidurangala Rock is open to visitors from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Getting There

Conveniently located around 10 minutes away from the heart of Sigiriya town, the easiest way to reach Pidurangala Rock is via tuk-tuk or a rental scooter. Those who intend to hike before sunrise should arrange for a three-wheeler or a taxi pickup the day before as it will be difficult to find transportation in the wee hours of the morning. Those who are based at Habarana Village By Cinnamon and other hotels in the surrounding area will find that public buses and tuk-tuks to the area are not hard to find. Travellers who have covered the top Habarana attractions can head over to nearby Sigiriya to visit the rock fortress and drop by Pidurangala during a day trip.


Entrance Fees and Hike Duration

Tourists must purchase an entrance ticket to hike up Pidurangala Rock and the ticket price is nominal when compared to the cost of entering the UNESCO Heritage Site nearby. The entrance fees are used for maintenance and also serve as a donation to the monks of the temple that lies on Pidurangala Rock. Reaching the summit will take an average hiker around 40 minutes although seasoned trekkers have been known to complete it in half an hour or less. The hike itself is not challenging and is easy to tackle for travellers of various fitness levels and age groups. Most visitors will spend up to an hour admiring the spectacular views before making their way down. The hike down is shorter and will take no more than 15 minutes.


What You Need

When it comes to what to pack for your hiking trip to Pidurangala Rock, it is important to keep a headlamp or a torch in hand if you intend to go for a sunrise expedition. Phone torches are not ideal as you may have to use your hands and crawl in certain stretches of the climb so a sturdy torch or headlamp is necessary. Remember to dress conservatively for the experience as the venue is considered both a religious site and a historical landmark. Tourists who are inappropriately dressed will be provided with sarongs for rent at the entrance to cover up. In addition to donning a pair of sneakers or hiking boots, visitors should also have snacks and water bottles on hand. There are no snack vendors or kiosks leading up to the rock.