Located in Matale district of Sri Lanka, Pidurangala is a gigantic rock formation which gained much popularity recently. Standing at a height of almost 200 meters, what’s special about Pidurangala is that it is adjacent to Sigiriya, the world famous rock fortress. The climb to the top of Pidurangala leads to a viewpoint that offers unmatched panoramic view of Sigiriya rock fortress and the surrounding valley. This has made Pidurangala one of the most Instagram’d places in Sri Lanka. Check out our guide to the most instagrammable places in Sri Lanka.
Pidurangala is mainly a meditative retreat for Buddhist monks, and is complete with a monastery, which is called Pidurangala Vihara. Even though the historical value of Pidurangala rock is not as well known as its counterpart Sigiriya, Pidurangala has a significant history behind the monastery it houses . It is believed that, when King Kashyapa chose Sigiriya to build his fortress, he moved the monks that were on Sigiriya to Pidurangala. Legends say that the King also built and expanded the Pidurangala monastery under his patronage.
If you love a good hike or simply fancy heritage travel, Pidurangala rock is a must-visit place during your trip to Sri Lanka. So here’s a mini guide to Pidurangala, Sri Lanka.
How to Get to Pidurangala, Sri Lanka
The best way to get to Pidurangala from Colombo would be to get to Sigiriya first. Pidurangala is only about 1.5 kilometers from Sigiriya, which is a Tuk-ride that would cost roughly Rs.200/= (< USD3). Find out all about how to get to Sigiriya on our mini guide to Sigiriya!
You can also get to Pidurangala from Dambulla or Habarana, which are the nearest towns to Sigiriya, each less than 15 kilometers away. Unless you’d rather take the bus which is far cheaper but painfully slow, we would recommend taking a Tuk Tuk, which would cost more than Rs.1000/= (USD6 – USD8) for a one-way trip. We have a few guidelines and recommendations on how to hail Tuk Tuks for safely getting around and about while you’re in Sri Lanka, right here.
All About the Pidurangala Hike
- Open Hours: 5am to 6pm daily
- Entrance Ticket: Rs.500/= per person (< USD 3)
- Duration: 20-30 mins
- Difficulty level: Moderate
The climb to the top of Pidurangala can be considered as a combination of two parts: the first part of the hike is fairly easy, with stone steps leading to the top. The steps disappear as you approach the second part of the hike, where you will have to climb over rocks and boulders to get to the top of the Pidurangala rock. But the spectacular view that greets you once you get to the top is well worth the effort.
You would come across the Pidurangala Vihara monastery about halfway to the top. There are ruins from ancient times that you can explore, along with a cave temple and one of Sri Lanka’s largest brick statues of reclining Buddha.
There are plenty of wildlife to be observed as well along the hike. Keep an eye out for multicolored lizards and reptiles like water snakes, flamboyant birds, and cheeky monkeys.
- Since the trail goes through the Pidurangala monastery, visitors must wear non-revealing clothes. It is strictly enforced that you must wear clothing that covers your body from the shoulders to knees, or else you won’t be allowed to get through.
- You must also remove your shoes when in temple grounds, but you can put them back on when you continue past the temple.
- The small fee taken from the entrance ticket funds the upkeep and maintenance of the monastery.
- Bring plenty of water, and something to snack on.
- Please don’t litter. Whatever you bring to the place, take them back with you.
- Avoid mid-day as the rock can get very hot and the sun will beat down hard.
- You can catch breathtaking views of the sunrise or the sunset from the top of the rock.
What Else to See around Pidurangala, Sri Lanka
- Sigiriya (Lion Rock)
- Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple
- Minneriya National Park, Habarana
- Anuradhapura Sacred City – Find our guide to Anuradhapura here.