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Updated by Lavinia Woolf on Apr 02, 2016
Headline for Top Attractions in Sigiriya - Must- Visit Highlights in Sigiriya
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Top Attractions in Sigiriya - Must- Visit Highlights in Sigiriya

Home to Sri Lanka's most coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site Sigiriya is an ancient city brimming with attractions. From its rock fortress to famed temples here are Sigiriya's must-see highlights.
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Dambulla

Dambulla
Often regarded as one of the most sacred and historic Buddhist temples in all of Sri Lanka Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is a stone's throw away from Sigiriya. As the most expansive cave compound in Asia Dambulla Cave Temple is located a top a rocky summit. Dating back 2500 years the ancient religious institution is reached via series of steps hewn in to the rock. Home to over 153 Buddha sculptures the temple is also famed for its collection of ancient murals that stretches across 2100m2. Built by King Valagambhahu the Dambulla Cave Temple is a popular stopover for Buddhist pilgrims and tourists exploring the Cultural Triangle.
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Pidurangala Raja Maha Viharaya

Pidurangala Raja Maha Viharaya
Believed to have been constructed during the same time period as the Sigiriya Rock Fortress the Pidurangala Raja Maha Viharaya is another religious epicentre located near Sigiriya. Another construct of King Kashyapa the Pidurangala monastery and Raja Maha Viharaya is perhaps best known for its cave complex which houses 5 Buddha statues. Visitors based in a strategically located hotel in Sigiriya will have easy access to the site and other highlights in the vicinity.
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Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Often regarded as Sri Lanka's most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site the Sigiriya Rock Fortress is no ordinary royal palace in the emerald isle. Famously referred to as the country's palace in the sky the Sigiriya Rock Fortress is one of the key historic sites in the Cultural Triangle. Having served as the royal abode of King Kashyapa the cloud-piercing rock fortress is vaulted against the backdrop of the stunning Sigiriya wilderness and blue skies at awe inspiring height of 2100 feet. At the rock's summit one finds a throne as well as a bathing pond or ancient swimming pool. Spread out across a vast area of 2 hectares the summit of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress also offers panoramic views. Many hotels Sigiriya counts among its best accommodation providers are located within close range of the rock fortress with most boasting views of the rock as a chief attribute; one such hotel is the renowned Hotel Sigiriya that provides luxury accomodation.
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National Park Safaris

National Park Safaris
Owing to its strategic location Sigiriya is within close proximity of three national parks including the Kaudulla National Park and the Wasgamuwa National Park. The Minneriya National Park however is the most popular wildlife sanctuary within close range of Sigiriya. With the 249km 2 long Minneriya Tank serving as its heart the national park is the verdant home of more than 24 mammal varieties and over 160 bird species. A whopping 75 varieties of butterflies also occupy the parkland which is the habitat of 25 types of reptiles and 26 fish species. Safari excursions are the best way to uncover the natural beauty of the park while frequently spotted wildlife includes herds of elephants, sloth bears, monkeys are deer. Endangered leopards are also known to roam the park where prime safari season falls between the months of July and September. The Elephant Gathering at Minnerirya National Park also takes place within this period when dozens of gentle giants flock to the Minneriya Tank to take their fill of water.