Sigiriya Lion Rock

Most Valuable Historical Monument of Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Lion Rock

Most Valuable Historical Monument of Sri Lanka



Sigiriya Lion Rock is an ancient rock fortress known for its massive column of rock that reaches nearly 200 meters high. The site dates back to the reign of King Kasyapa (477-495 AD), who chose this site as his new capital. He decorated the walls with frescoes, and built an impressive palace right on top of the rock column, accessible only through the mouth of an enormous carved lion.

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The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kassapa (477–95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 180m high (the ‘Lion’s Rock’, which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site

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Sigiriya Visiting Hours

Opening Hours – From 6.30 am to 5.30 pm every day

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Sigiriya Ticket Prices

Includes tickets to Sigiriya Lion Rock Museum

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Travel to Sigiriya

You Sigiriya by Bus, Train, Tuk tuk, flight or rented vehicle

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How to climb Sigiriya

You will enter 8 main areas while on SIGIRIYA climb

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Sigiriya Images

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4 Main Sigiriya LION Rock Highlights

sigiriya mirror wall

1. Sigiriya MIrror wall

Just past the “Sigiriya Frescoes“, you walk alongside what is known as the “Mirror Wall” — a wall polished so heavily that the king would have been able to see his reflection on the surface. You’ll see names and notes scribbled into the wall, some from as early as the 8th century, by visitors to Sigiriya Lions Rock.

One translated writing reads: “I am Budal [the writer’s name]. Came with hundreds of people to see Sigiriya. Since all the others wrote poems, I did not!” Some things never change.

Further graffiti nowadays is strictly banned in order to protect these ancient writings.

Sigiriya lion rock

2. Sigiriya Lion's Paw

At the northern end of the Sigiriya Lion Rock, a narrow pathway emerges on to the large platform from which the site derives its name – Sigiriya (from sinha-giri) means ‘Lions Rock’. HCP Bell, the British archaeologist responsible for an enormous amount of archaeology in Sri Lanka, found the two enormous lion paws when excavating in 1898.

The final ascent to the top commenced with a stairway that led between the Sigiriya lion’s paws and into its mouth.

The 5th-century lion has since disappeared, apart from the first steps and the paws. Reaching the top means clambering up across a series of metal stairs, but you can still see the original grooves and steps cut into the Sigiriya Lion Rock.

about sigiriya

3. Sigiriya Frescoes

After passing the gardens, you’ll approach a staircase which slowly winds its way up Sigiriya Lion Rock. One section of the staircase will allow you to view some of the ancient frescoes painted on the Sigiriya cave walls. These paintings are similar to those of the Anuradhapura period but have a distinct style in the way the lines and shadows are drawn. 

To add to how impressive these ancient Sigiriya paintings are, it’s believe that the original paintings would have covered the entire face of Sigiriya Lions Rock — an area 140 meters long and 40 meters high.

Definitely take the extra few minutes to view the paintings and try to imagine what Sigiriya Rock would have looked like in all its painted glory thousands of years ago. As John Still suggested in 1907: “The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery . . . the largest picture in the world perhaps”

Lion palace sigiriya

4. Sigiriya Boulder Gardens

As you enter Sigiriya Lions Rock, you’ll first walk through a series of beautiful gardens as you make your way to the towering Lion’s Rock ahead.

The water gardens, cave and boulder gardens, and terraces gardens at Sigiriya are among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, so be sure to take some time to appreciate them!

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