Pidurangala is a 200m tall 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. Climbing to the top of Pidurangala Rock is more strenuous than climbing Sigiriya. If you are fit and adventurous it is a climb worth making. It will take you about two hours. There is far less to see on this site than Sigiriya.
While Sigiriya Rock is rich in history and has some pretty dramatic features such as the lion’s paw and the mirror wall, Pidurangala Rock has a much more natural feel, despite also housing a temple.
Pidurangala Rock is adjacent to Sigiriya Rock and is the best viewing spot of Sigiriya Rock as it is only slightly lower. Pidurangala is a popular spot for sunrise as you can enjoy 360-degree views of not only the valleys but also Sigiriya Rock.
There is no need to choose between the two. Many travelers wake up for the sunrise at Pidurangala and then head to sunset on top of Sigiriya Rock. This is exactly what I did and I highly recommend it.
The best time to visit
The best time of year to visit and hike Pidurangala is during the dry season, between late December and early April.
For the best chance of a perfect sunrise or sunset, March is prime time, as there’s a limited chance of cloud cover.
How to get to Pidurangala Rock?
Pidurangala Rock is located in the small town of Sigiriya only a short 200 LKR tuk-tuk ride from the town center. If you’re visiting the rock from Sigiriya then a tuk-tuk is the best way as it’s a little far to walk from town and there are no buses.
Dambulla is the other town popular for visiting Pidurangala Rock. From Dambulla, I recommend getting the bus to Sigiriya and then getting a tuk-tuk. This is the most budget-friendly option as a tuk-tuk from Dambulla to Sigiriya will cost around 1000 LKR each way. The bus, on the other hand, will only cost around 50 LKR each way and then the 200 LKR for a tuk-tuk to the rock.
If you’re not worried about saving a little bit of cash then you can organize a tuk-tuk from Dambulla to Pidurangala rock return for around 2,000 LKR and they’ll even wait for you at the bottom. They will usually wait for 2 hours so if you want more time be sure to negotiate it beforehand!
It is common for people to travel to Sigiriya on a short trip to from Colombo. If you plan on doing this then the best way is to get a private driver.
Other methods (such as the bus) are slow and if your time is in Sri Lanka is short then this is your best option. Colombo to Sigiriya takes around 3 hours by car and it’s pretty much the same as Negombo.
The Pidurangala Rock entrance fee is LKR 500 per person (USD 3).
The fee is part of a donation to the Pidurangala Sigiri Rajamaha Viharaya temple that you pass through to commence the hike. The Pidurangala Rock ticket office opens at 5 am and closes at 6 pm, but you’re welcome to stay as long as you like at the summit.
Quick Facts About Climbing Pidurangala Rock
Just in case you’re in a hurry, here are a few things to know about hiking up Pidurangala Rock!
- About a 35 to 45 -minute hike
- 500 LKR entrance fee
- You MUST cover up shoulders, knees and remove shoes at the temple at the start of the trail
- Cover-ups are sometimes available but bring your own for busy periods – find out below what happened to us!!!
- Best for sunrise and sunset
- Pidurangala Rock opens at 5 am and close at 6 pm (this is the ticket office, you can stay up at the rock until dark)
- Snakes are in the area so be careful
- Medium difficulty hike
- No plastic allowed (not strictly enforced)
- No toilets at Pidrangala Rock or on the trail
We ended up having a very different experience in Sigiriya than we had expected, but it also ended up being way better than we could have hoped for. The views from Pidurangala Rock were incredible and the sunrise experience as a result of the Pidurangala hike was outstanding.
For those on a tight budget, Pidurangala Rock in Sigiriya is an excellent option. Regardless of budget we recommend hiking up and enjoying Pidurangala Rock at sunrise anyway. It was an epic morning and a hike up Pidurangala in Sri Lanka is a must-do activity for anyone who visits Sigiriya!