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Sigiriya (Lions) Rock Fortress Photo Guide

Sigiriya Concubines Painting
One of the famous cave paintings at Sigirya

One of the coolest places in Sri Lanka has to be the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It doesn’t look like much from afar, and even from a lot of photos you see online, but when you get there and get to walking around you see why UNESCO has declared Sigiriya as the 8th Wonder of the World. Monastery turned King’s Fortress, turned back to Monastery, Sigiriya has had quite a dynamic past.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress Lion Gate
Whats left of a once fantastic Lion Gate entrance to the Sigiriya Rock Palace.

Sigiriya is located in the center of Sri Lanka, and is part of the Cultural Triangle. One of 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country, it is not cheap to get into for foreigners. I believe when I visited in September 2011, it cost around $25 US. They also sell a ticket which gets you into Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Annuradhapura and the Kataragama museum and costs $50 US, worth it if you plan to visit all of these locations. Also, you may get hassled by people wanting to be your guide, as with most touristy things in Sri Lanka, guides are not cheap. They may say pay them as you like or something similar, but they’re going to manage to get 10-20 USD out of you still. My opinion is that a guide is not required here, unless you want to hear about this history as you go. I was suckered into getting a guide, and although I did pick up some interesting tidbits, it wasn’t worth the money.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress Walkway
The walkway leading from the back entrance up towards the palace rock

You’ve got to be sure to climb to the top of the Sigiriya Rock, and don’t skip out on the cave which has all the frescoes either. It looks like it would be more of a difficult climb than it actually is, although on a hot day most people try to avoid doing it during peak sunlight hours. If you don’t mind the heat, this might be a good time to visit Sigiriya and avoid most fo the crowds. Once you reach the top the 360° views are fantastic.

View From the Top of Sigiriya Rock Fortress
The view from the top of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress winter palace

Bottom line, if you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, you’ve got to visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sigiriya certainly makes the list of “Must See” Sri Lankan destinations, and may even top the list.

Sigirya Rock Fortress Image Gallery

Sigiriya Rock Fortress Map

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