The Pidurangala Rock is a massive rock formation located just a few kilometres north of Sigiriya in central Sri Lanka. With an interesting history closely related to that of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the Pidurangala rock hike must be on your Sri Lankan itinerary. It is an awesome experience and the views from the summit of the rock are breathtaking. The hike isn’t too strenuous but it is a smart idea to do it before sunrise or sunset. Then you not only beat the warmth of the day, but you’ll also be treated with beautiful light and colors. In this complete guide you will not only find everything you need to know about the Pidurangala hike, but also a comparison between both the Sigiriya ancient rock fortress and Pidurangala rock.
How to get to Pidurangala Rock
The Pidurangala Rock is located opposite from the Sigiriya Rock in, of course, Sigiriya. You can get to Pidurangala by tuk tuk or if you want to have more freedom by renting a scooter. The road is easy to find and you will pass some other interesting historical temples on your way there. In front of the entrance is a car park where you can park your scooter for free. Be careful with the monkeys around, they might find your scooter very interesting!
Difference between hiking Pidurangala Rock and Sigiriya Rock
Compare for yourself what you find more important to do or see. Maybe you even want to do both hikes? Many travelers wake up for the sunrise, climb Pidurangala Rock and then head to the Lion Sigiriya Rock to watch the sunset on top.
Climbing the Pidurangala Rock means you will have an amazing view on the Sigiriya Rock. But you will miss out on the rich history of the UNESCO World Heritage Sigiriya Rock which its pretty interesting. Because the historical features you will see on the Lion Rock are the lion claws, old wall drawings, the mirror wall and of course the fortress at the top. Pidurangala Rock on the other hand has a much more natural feel, and you will also see the Pidurangala temple on your way to the top. Both rocks are around 200 meters high so the difference in view over the jungle is quite the same.
The difference between the entrance fee of both on the other hand is huge. You pay almost ten times more to climb the Lion Rock Sigiriya instead of the Pidurangala Rock!
Both rocks are about 200 meters high, so the view and perspective on the jungle and surroundings is quite the same.
So to summarise the comparison between the two rocks:
Entrance fee: 500 rupees
Hike: moderate. But at the end once you’re close to the top of Pidurangala you have to climb a bit over some rocks.
Time to get to the top: depending on your pace and the times you stop 20 – 45 minutes.
Crowds: Not really, we passed maybe 6 people on our way to the top. At the top of the rock were around sunset time maybe 25 people in total.
Things to see: A Buddhist temple at the entrance, and when you’re almost at the top of the rock a shallow cave temple with a beautiful 12.5 meter long statue of a reclining Buddha statue. When you’re at the top of Pidurangala you can enjoy the incredible view over the jungle and Sigiriya Rock.
Best time to climb: early in the morning or before sunset.
Entrance fee: 4500 rupees
Hike: moderate, 1200 steps until you reach the top of the Lion Rock fortress.
Time to get to the top: depending on the crowds, your own pace and the times you stop 30 – 45 minutes.
Crowds: very busy, always and every time of the day.
Things to see: The history from King Kasyapa with the historical remains such as the lion’s paw, a mirror wall and of course the ancient rock fortress at the top. The view over the jungle and Pidurangala rock is just amazing.
Best time to climb: early in the morning or before sunset.
What to prepare before climbing the Pidurangala Rock
Wear proper footwear! Don’t think about climbing Pidurangala with your slippers or sandals. You can easily hurt yourself on the sharp rocks.
Bring enough water with you. There are no food stalls around on your way to the top and we also didn’t see any at the car park. You will need at least 1 liter of water for your way up and down.
Be aware that before you start the climb on Pidurangala rock you have to pass a temple, a holy place. You need to remove your shoes and wear clothing which covers your knees and shoulders. You can rent a sarong at the entrance, but it’s better to be prepared and take something with you that covers those body parts.
Bring your camera of course with enough memory card space!
If you’re planning to climb the Pidurangala rock to watch the sunset or sunrise, you should be prepared to make your way up, or down when it’s dark. So a torch or headlamp is needed. You will need your two hands climbing down, or climbing up the rocks. So if you need to hold your phone as well for the light, it is not safe and recommendable.
The view on Sigiriya Rock seen from the Pidurangala Rock.
What to expect with the Pidurangala hike
Expect a moderate hike through lush green vegetation which takes about 30 – 45 minutes until you reach the top. The path isn’t paved, so you will have to wear proper shoes for grip. When you start the hike you will come across the Pidurangala temple which you can visit inside with proper attire. The temple was a buddhist monastery built by King Kashyapa and worth it to visit when you’re interested in the history. It is a bit like Dambulla cave temple but smaller. Further along the hike you will also see a shallow cave with a beautiful 12.5 meter long statue of a recumbent Buddha cut into the rocks.
After the cave there are only 10 minutes of hiking remaining. However, this part of the trail involves some climbing. There are no dangerous sections just a few boulders, which require a big step up so make sure you have both hands free to balance yourself. The views at the top of Pidurangala are just incredible. The platform on the top is huge, you can walk around or just sit at a spot and enjoy the vast views over the jungle and the beautiful Sigiriya Rock.
If you see this view you know you’re almost at the top!
Best time to hike Pidurangala Rock
Consideringthe heat during the day and the best view and light for photography, you should plan climbing Pidurangala rock before sunrise or sunset. In the early morning after sunrise is also an option of course when you’re not an early bird. If you plan on watching the sunrise or sunset on top of Pidurangala rock then be prepared to make your way up or down in the dark. So bring a headlamp with you because you will need two hands climbing some boulders close to the top!
A happy face after sunset on the Pidurangala Rock. We had an amazing afternoon and were treated with this incredible palet of colors after sunset!
More Sri Lanka travel inspiration
We hope yu enjoyed this complete guide about the Pidurangala rock hike.
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