Pidurangala Rock Temple History, Climbing Pidurangala, Tourist Information
Pidurangala is a massive rock formation located a few kilometers north of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. It has an interesting history closely related to that of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Being less grand and far more difficult to climb it is often overlooked by tourists.
Like Sigiriya, Pidurangala was formed by volcanic activity. Whilst Pidurangala appears larger than Sigiriya; its upper surface is steeply sloped and is of solid rock. For this reason it was not suitable for large-scale building activity. The rocky outcrops that surround the central rock gives one an indication of what the area around Sigiriya may have looked like prior to its clearing and preparation as a royal citadel.
The Pidurangala area has been occupied on and off for over two thousand five hundred years by monks who lived in the caves around the site. It really came into prominence when King Kasyapa (477- 495 AD), who built Sigiriya, moved monks living around Sigiriya Rock to a newly refurbished and enlarged temple and monastery here at Pidurangala.
Pidurangala Site Information
Entrance Fees $2 (approximately)
Opening Hours 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
(Last entry is at 5:00 PM).)
Visit 1-2 hours for site tour
Climb 40-60 Minutes to go to the top
(Closest is Sigiriya)
Facilities No Toilets on site
(Closest is Sigiriya)
Pidurangala Rock Temple
The white temple building near the main entrance was built in the 1930s but houses within it a cave temple dating back thousands of years. The temple has objects from various vintages juxtaposed within it reflecting Buddhist, Hindu and even western influences.
The drip-ledge from the ancient temple is visible above the roof-line.
Climbing Pidurangala Rock
Climbing to the top of Pidurangala Rock is more strenuous than climbing Sigiriya. So be warned and be prepared.
If you are fit and adventurous it is a climb worth making. It will take you around two hours.
Take your time, rest often and drink lots of water. Proper footwear is strongly advised. The best times to climb are early morning and late afternoon.
The climb can be divided into two stages.
This climb has very steep irregular steps leading to a landing. This stage is strenuous but doable by reasonably fit people. (If you climbed Sigiriya you can climb this).
This is predominately uncharted territory. It has no clearly defined paths or stairs. The second stage of the climb starts at the far end of this landing, past the Reclining Buddha, and should only be attempted by those who are fit and not over-weight. Your size and fitness becomes a major issue here because you have to clamber up steep boulders and creep through very tight crevices. This stage is definitely not for the unfit or obese.
Pidurangala Reclining Buddha
On the first landing is located shallow cave with a beautiful 12.5 meter-long statute of a recumbent Buddha. This statue was at one time the largest brick statue of Buddha in the world. The head and torso of the statue were destroyed by treasure hunters in the 1960s and have been reconstructed.
View from the Top of Pidurangala Rock
Once you finally reach the top of Pidurangala Rock you will be greeted by a magnificent vista similar to that from the top of Sigiriya. From almost anywhere Sigiriya looms majestically. You can even see people climbing the stairs to the top of Sigiriya. On the highest point of Pidurangala Rock is a pile of rubble which is the remains of a stupa.
There is only one hotel really close to Pidurangala. That is Back of Beyond Pidurangala. All other hotels are within half an hour's distance from the site.
The author has personally stayed in the hotels he has listed and reviewed on our best Hotels in Sigiriya page. A summary is provided below.
Heritance Kandalama - Iconic "Must Stay" at Hotel
Jetwing Vil Uyana - Luxurious pampered Tranquility
Aliya Resort & Spa - New Excellent Facilities
Hotel Sigiriya - Convenient with Fantastic View
Back of Beyond Pidurangala - Interesting Eco-resort
Back of Beyond Dehigaha - Wild Eco-resort
Cinnamon Lodge Habarana - Lovely setting
What to Wear
Being in the tropics, it is usually hot and humid. Dressing smart will make your experience far more enjoyable.• Clothing - Loose cotton or breathable fabric clothes.
• Shoes - Good trainers/runners/ sneakers.
• Hat - Broad brimmed hat to keep the sun away.
• Sunscreen - Definitely a good idea in the tropics
Safety and Comfort
The lower levels of Pidurangala are safe and relatively easy to get to. Access is via a series of paved and uneven steps. Climbing to the top of the rock is difficult and very strenuous. It should only be attempted by those who are fit.
Safety factors to consider include the difficult and dangerous climb to the top and dehydration. Use common-sense and you will be assured an incident-free visit. Visit our Sigiriya Safety and Comfort page for more information.
Pidurangala Weather & Climate
Pidurangala, like the rest of Sri Lanka, has a hot and humid tropical climate. The weather in general is unpredictable. Torrential downpours occur frequently. These are usually short-lived and tend to be in the afternoons. More detail can be found on our Sigiriya Climate and Weather page.
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