Sigiriya Fortress – The Lion Fortress of Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Fortress is an archeological monument in Sri Lanka, surrounded by a wonderful jungle. It is located in the middle of an island, and the closest towns to it are Dambulla and Habarane. Imagine a 200 meters mountain made of a volcano’s magma. You will see an old building on the top, and that’s exactly what you have been searching for, Sigiriya Fortress! The astonishing view of this building makes an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Sigiriya Fortress is an archeological monument in Sri Lanka. A wonderful jungle is surrounding this giant castle, and it shows the strategic role of that building in those old ages. It is located in the middle of an island, and the closest towns to it are Dambulla and Habarane. Imagine a 200 meters mountain made of a volcano’s magma. You will see an old building on the top, and that’s exactly what you have been searching for, Sigiriya Fortress. The astonishing view of this building makes an unforgettable experience for visitors.


History of Sigiriya Fortress

British Archaeologists of the 1800s got attracted to something interesting in Sri Lanka. It seemed to be an archeological site deep inside the jungles and was built in the Fifth century by the Sinhalese dynasty. The king who decided to build that extraordinary building was King Kashyapa I. This fortress was once the capital of the Sinhalese. It was not the only big building in that area, which dates back to the fifth century. Historians believe that these monuments converted to safe places for those who were busy with internal conflicts and struggles. Many years later, It became a Budhidsm monastery for believers of that religion. The 14th century was the last year of that kind of usage for Sigiriya Fortress. A three hundred period of time is missing about this monument’s exact situation after being a monastery. Then, the Kingdom of candy started to use it as an outpost.



The architecture of the Sigiriya Fortress

Due to many factors taken into account by archeology lovers, Sigiriya Fortress is known as the world’s eighth wonder. That is not only a simple claim. The architecture is one of a kind, and that’s what makes it brilliant. The Sigiriya fortress’s design was like a lion; unfortunately, the upper section of the building is gone, but you can still see the lion claws, which is the only surviving part of the monument. That’s why this place’s name is Sigirya, which originated from Sihagri, meaning: Lion Rock. For entering the fortress, you can use the main entrance in the northern part of the building.


The frescos on the walls are the first thing to catch your eyes while visiting this place. These paintings include pictures of nude females who were the king’s wives, and only 18 of them are still available to see. It is also said that those females could be Sinhalese maidens but, who knows the truth about ancient ages?

Mirror Wall

Located on the Sigiriya fortress’s western side, Mirror Wall is another fascinating part of this rock. They have built a break wall with white plaster covering it. The color of plaster caused a reflection of light, which seemed to be a huge mirror. Visitors have always been into leaving something behind them. This wall became an excellent place for comments and messages, and surprisingly, you can see some old sentences from eighth-century A.D. As writing on the wall became a habit for visitors, many people wanted to write something, which is not allowed these days. Fortunately, the Mirror Wall is under restoration.

Sigiriya Fortress

Sigiriya Fortress, Sri Lanka


A Plan for Sigiriya Fortress

It can be beneficial to plan before visiting. There are not many things to do in Sigiriya Fortress but don’t forget to enjoy your visit by looking at every piece of this castle. Here we made a To-Do list for visiting Sigiriya Fortress:


Reading about the history of ancient places helps you enhance the quality of your visit. The history behind the monuments reveals a lot of unique information about the date of the building and incidents, the primary usage of this place during the old ages, and many untold stories about the structure and decoration and people who made it. Don’t forget to read about Sigiriya.


Whether you like to book a tour or visit there by yourself, planning is the most important thing when you want to see somewhere. People’s previous reviews can help you find the best planning pattern that suits your expectations. Timing, transferring, things to be aware of, and all these essential points should be in your plan.


Reading and planning are for visiting. When you get there, the very first thing_ that is different_ would be the weather and the clear air for breathing caused by many trees surrounding you and the monument. Find the entrance, and there is a ticket office where you can easily pay for entering. As you step into the place, the number of stairs surprises you, but it’s worth seeing! Even with those stairs, even with climbing!

As you will see, a big part of the building is destroyed; try to make it completed in your imagination by putting the missing piece of the puzzle together. In the case of the paintings on the wall, picturing all of them as a whole can clarify the connection between them.

Find the best angle to see everything, and this helps your imagination like a time machine that takes you back in history. We recommend you pick some of your favorite pictures of Sigiriya Fortress, and as you get there, try to find the best place to see what you have seen in the pictures.

Sigiriya Fortress View in Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Fortress View, Sri Lanka


Entrance Fee

It’s not a very cheap place to visit. The entrance fee is about $30 per person. The ticket office is right next to the main entrance in the northern part of the monument. You can buy your tickets from 6:30 am to 6 pm. It is likely to forget to purchase the tickets, don’t forget to find the ticket office, and buy one of them because heading up to the place without a ticket is not the best thing to do! You will need to buy them, and it takes a lot of energy retracing your steps for a tiny ticket.

Cash or ATM?

There is an ATM  for purchasing via card, but you’d better carry some cash because some visitors reported frequent problems with the ATM. Only a few dollars in your pocket help you avoid these troubles.

Is it worth paying?

Nobody can answer this question. If you are a history lover who admires the old buildings, if you like to see what our ancestors had left for us, and if you are someone who cares about the things on the planet and you want to see them, then the answer is obvious. On the other hand, all these payments help the maintenance and conservation of historical sites. And the uniqueness of Sigiriya Fortress is another thing to consider while hesitating about the worth it.


The best season to visit

The dry season in Sigiriya is between late December and early April. It is more reasonable to visit there during this period as the weather in that part of the land can be a problem. Being there during the hot days of the year is very frustrating. Humidity and the hot temperature_ even in the early morning_ kill your good times there. You will need fluids and some accessories to protect yourself against the sun. Don’t forget to pick up your sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses.

Sigiriya Fortress at Sunset

Sigiriya Fortress at Sunset, Sri Lanka


What time to visit?

Sigiriya Fortress is open from 7 am to 7 pm, but the ticket office closes at 5 pm. Based on this timing you have a lot of time to visit it. Many visitors prefer to be there in the early morning, and that can be the right choice. For one thing, the heat is annoying during the day. It is tough to climb the fortress when the weather is hot and humid. Also, watching the sunrise from the top of the monument with those landscapes is not something you can find everywhere. Furthermore, photography and timelapse shooting need your concentration, and very early mornings can give you the opportunity for all these things to do in Sigiriya Fortress.


How long does it take?

Of course, it depends. Your fitness level and readiness for climbing should be considered for talking about time, but an average person can spend one-hour climbing. Also, consider the time you will be wandering there and enjoying the gardens, watching the sceneries and taking photos which take a long time to do all of them. Based on the average time visitors have spent there, 3 hours would be enough for visiting everything in Sigiriya Fortress.

Sigiriya Fortress

Sigiriya Fortress, Sri Lanka


How Do I get there?

Sigiriya Fortress is located somewhere far from the big cities. Head to Sigiriya Fortress from Dambulla, the best choice as it saves your time and money, and it’s the easiest way to get there. Traveling to Sigiriya by bus is one of the ways. There are regular busses heading to Sergiriya, and it takes about 1 hour to get there. The ticket price is about LKR 50 per person (USD 0.30), and the final stop is where you can find the Sigiriya’s Entrance after 5-10 minutes of walking.

Another option is Tuk Tuk. It is a kind of three-wheeler by which you can get to Sigiriya in 30 minutes. Renting a Tuk Tuk in Dambulla is very easy. The price is about LKR 1000-1600 (USD 5-9). You can talk over the price bargaining respectfully! Colombo and Kandy are other cities where you can start your journey from them, and buses and Tuk Tuk are available there too.


Things to know before visiting

Be ready for it

It is more than 1000 steps you should take to get to the highest part of the fortress. It needs a lot of energy, and obviously, only if you have no problem with walking and hiking, you can afford to do that. The stairs are not standard.

It is far

It is not very far from other places, but as it needs to take those many stairs to reach the top, the accessibility is almost nothing. Whatever you want to do quickly on the ground is impossible, and you should wait for 1 hour to come down.


While walking there on the site, you will see many signs on the wall warning you about the wasps. According to traditional and local beliefs, the army of the emperor reincarnated in another form and appearance. Those soldiers are now living in their big nests as wasps. Disturbing them is not the best thing you can do with them. They will attack you if you annoy them. Take care.

Sigiriya Fortress in Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Fortress, Sri Lanka


How was your experience?

Have you ever been to Sigiriya Fortress? What did you see when you got there on the top of the fortress? How did you like the paintings? If you have ever been to Sigiriya Fortress or any other places like this one, let us know about the feeling you got when you were exploring history.

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