Lion Rock, Sigirya, Sri Lanka

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Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Lion Rock, Sigirya, Sri Lanka Sigiriya Reviews

vdimin vdimin
6 reviews
Roaring Amazing Climb! Feb 03, 2013
Visited Sri Lanka in August 2012. I stayed in Dambulla at Nice Place hotel. Started my journey at 7 a.m to Sigiriya as reminded by my friendly tuk tuk driver because early morning is the best time to climb Lion's Rock as it will be very hot after 10 a.m and i don't want to get sun burnt. When i reached Sigiriya around 7.30 a.m it was just great for me to climb the historic rock. It took me less than an hour to reached the top and the view was awesome. I wore a suit to protect me from wasps as recommended by the officials who were on duty. No charge for the suit but i gave LKR500 for donation. please don't missed the chance to climb this amazing rock when you are in Sri Lanka. Worth your time and visit once in a life time.
Before the climb.
climbing the metal stairs
Beware of Wasps!
Ancient painting on cave walls
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suvanimokhtar suvanimo…
10 reviews
The Magnificent Sigiriya Rock Apr 19, 2012
It was unexpected of how incredible the Sigiriya Rock was. It was a group of 11 of us who went up there. I would highly recommend that anyone who wants to go to the Sigirya Rock to hire a guide (available at the ticket counter) as he explained the history of how and when and why this amazing place was built. On top of that, many stories were mentioned regarding the temple that was once there and how the King Kashyapa took over and made it his castle/fortress. After talking to the guide, he explained that it's not an easy process to become a guide! He had to study the history, know the stories, become a guide assistance to another guide and pass the exam to finally become an official guide. I have never heard of such effort put into a historical site.

The whole journey up takes about 1hour with a few stops (with older people in the group) along the way. They are steps to climb and no hiking is required. Half way up the rock, the path leads to the part where the walls were painted with beautiful illustrations of topless women. Unfortunately, only a few figures are left and not damaged through the years. As you reach the top, the views were utterly magnificent, with four different sights to appreciate.

In a nutshell, all of us were not disappointed at all!One tip though, I wouldn't recommend anyone with bad knees or those who have issues with a lot of walking and climbing stairs. As it is NOT as easy as people say it is.

Sigiriya Rock was one of the best site I have ever been to especially in Asia.
yeshan yeshan
66 reviews
Worth the Climb - Breathtaking Feb 25, 2012
A fortress built on top of a rock , i need not go into detail as every traveler who looks up about the lion rock will get familiar with this famous story about this fortress build for betrayal. Things to note if you are not traveling with a local guide is , how the ponds at the top of a rock still have water to date, the carved rocks and other ruins still standing with the water fountains around this run down world heritage site will amaze the more inquisitive traveler. On top of the rock you get a breath taking 360 degree view of the surrounding. The Best time to climb is early in the morning or at around 3 in the afternoon, avoid a being on the top at mid day. Its not a long climb ( less than 1 hour) but take time to see the surrounding structures at the base of the mountain. the cost for tourists is USD 30, its worth it i suppose.
On top of e rock!
the climb : polly form ukraine, wi…
the VIEW
tj1777 tj1777
379 reviews
The lions castle in Sigiriya Sep 13, 2011
According to the local legend the gardens and the royal palace on top of the rock at Sigiriya was built by King Kassapa who ruled from 477 till 495. Other claim it has never actually been a royal palace but a Buddhist retreat on the top of the rock which was already used in the 3rd century BC and by the 10th century it had become an important Buddhist complex. No matter who is correct it is still a nice place to go and visit.

The palace on the top of the rock was abandon by the local residents in the 14th century and it deteriorated for the next 500 years until it was finally rediscovered in 1898.

Today you can visit the palace on your own by bus from either Dambulla or Polonnaruwa - or you can stay in the local village next door. In any case the area is fairly small so you should be able to see it in a couple of hours. The entry is included in the Cultural Triangle ticket so if you intend to go to Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura you should get the combined ticket since the entry to those two places cost the same as the combined ticket.

The main attraction of the old town of Sigiriya is the amazing view from the top of the hill. The rock is quite high so it’s a bit of a hike up the stairs to get there. Walking up the stairs isn’t suited for people afraid of heights - on my way down I met a girl who was about to walk up - but she looked terrified by the walk up - hence I really doubt she would ever make it to the top. Hence if you usually get afraid of heights this may not be a place you really would enjoy visiting - for most people who are in reasonable shape the hike up the hill shouldn’t be much of a problem.

When you get to the top of the hill there are some ruins on the very top of the hill which is interesting - but hardly something which will really impress many people. The most interesting attractions on the way up the hill is the display of frescoes off ladies on a wall half way up the hill and the lions pawns which you will get to just before the last stretch of stairs to the top.

Below the hill is an old pleasure garden which was probably very impressive when it was maintained - but today there are only some remains of the old ponds and other low constructions which has survived.

There is also a small museum at Sigiriya - I went to it after I had been to the rock. I think this was probably a mistake since the museum gives you a pretty good idea of the layout of the area - and in this way is helpful in the understanding of the area.
The rock
Paintings on the rock
Paintings on the rock
Paintings on the rock
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bonangskie bonangsk…
3 reviews
Climbing the Sigiriya Rock Fortress Mar 14, 2011
The Sigiriya Rock Fortress had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Rising out from the jungle, The Rock is like a beacon for travelers from afar. Local legend has it that King Kassapa (AD 477 – 495, making this at least almost 1600 years old) sought a place where he can fortify himself after overthrowing and murdering his own father and usurping the throne from the rightful heir.

According to the more pragmatic archaeologists though, this rock was used as a Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist monastery built even centuries before the time of King Kassapa. Monks were supposedly using this as a mountain monastery as early as 3rd century BC and by 10th century AD it had become a very popular hermitage place.

My very helpful driver, Ishantha, guided me to the ticket booth which is near the museum area and right across the entrance gate. The single entry ticket only for Sigiriya Rock is U$25.00, or you may purchase the Cultural Triangle ticket for U$55.00 if you have plans of visiting the other ancient capitals like Anuradhapura-Polonnaruwa-Ritigala-Nalanda-Kandy. I decided to just take the single entry ticket as I don’t know yet when I will be able to visit the other sites.

The minute you alight from your vehicle till the time that you are inside the rock complex, there will be a multitude of men who will latch on to you and “help” you. These helpful guides will then charge 1000LKR for their help. So if you don’t have extra money with you, you can tell them nicely that you don’t need any assistance.

On the palace grounds (or monastery, whichever tale you chose to believe), there are beautifully-laid out water gardens which is still in use till this day. These must have doubled up as water reservoirs during those days thousand years ago. The further you go, you’ll chance upon cave boulders and terraced gardens all the way up.

According to one of the “helpful” guys who tried to latch on to me, there are about 1,200 steps to the top of the Rock. Ouch! It was okay at the base, as you trudge on through the stone steps but when you start going up the rock, don’t look down if you have fear of heights!

Late afternoon is indeed the best time to go up, the sun is almost setting down and you get a cool breeze fanning your face while you go up the rickety steps. It was such a fascinating and picturesque climb, you go through rock hewn passages and pass by small caves.

I first went for the colorful frescoes of beautiful women adorning the rock face, the entrance was on the other side of the rock wall. There were only a few left but it was really well-preserved. They have covered it with tarpaulin and all visitors are prohibited from using flash when taking photos.

Then you pass by the Mirror Wall, they said it was originally polished so the king can see himself while walking along. I did walk alongside the wall but alas, either it was not polished this time or it’s just not shining but I definitely did not see myself on it! Lol

And so I arrived at the Lion’s Gate --- named as such because at the entrance, you will go through two giant Lion’s paws guarding both sides of the entrance gate. This is the base for the ascent to the top of the rock. The rock rises 370m (1,214ft) above sea level, not really much though, but it can be scary as it is a sheer drop on all sides!

The railings were just attached to the rock surface and I keep on telling myself, “Yvonne, there are like hundreds of people climbing here every single day!” just to make sure I can prod myself to go up further. One time I glanced down (my mistake!) and my breath just swooshed out!

But the view at the rock summit is amazing! Well worth the tiring climb and the even more tiring walk down. There were still well-preserved palace ruins, a water reservoir which looks like a huge swimming pool (maybe they used this as a swimming pool back then also eh?).

It took me about two hours for my entire Sigiriya Rock experience. I could have stayed longer but the place also is almost closing up and I don’t want to be left all alone with all the ghosts of the past for company! Hahaha

The exit is on another side, with numerous souvenir stalls scattered around the parking area.

Enjoy your climb!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bernard69 says:
thanks for sharing:)
Posted on: Jun 17, 2011
Shakar81 Shakar81
16 reviews
epic view from ancient buddhist monastery and palace... Mar 12, 2011
Well, what can I say..amazing place, a giant rock jutting out of the plains. Unbelievable views from atop (but steep climb to get there). Ancient palace and meditation caves, plus beautiful rock paintings (the heavenly maidens). Don't miss this if u r in Sri Lanka.
Devika1985 Devika19…
49 reviews
Sep 12, 2007
In Sigirya, Sri Lanka you will find one of the most well-known tourist attractions of the country. The Lion Rock. On top of the Lion Rock used to be a palace. The story is about king Kasyapa who had murdered his own father and after that took the throne to wich he wasnt entitled, but his brother was. To outsmart his brother in making any attempts to attack him and take over the throne he built a castle (well not him but most likely a lot of poor servants! aaaww.. :( ) on top of the Lion Rock so he could see every attack coming by far. (Pretty smart guy) If I'm informed correctly his brother did manage to take over the throne later so it didn't work for him in the end!

Now the Lion rock is open for tourists and the ruines of the palace can be seen at the top of the mountain. It's quite a long way to climb but the view is perfect! make sure you go on a clear day! Somewhere halfway you can see some very nice mural paintings wich are very pretty!

Again I've set the price at free.. because I have no clue about the costs!
Internet photo of the Lion Rock
Mural painting
bernard69 says:
Great pics!
Posted on: Aug 20, 2008
kamja says:
Ha! You're kickin' as**s with this review ;>
Posted on: Sep 15, 2007
Antalescu says:
This is an interesting story and a very beautiful place. Strange country! :)
Posted on: Sep 14, 2007

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