Sri Lanka is well known for its beautiful landscapes everywhere around the island. Many of these treasures, however, are still hidden to tourists. One of these is certainly Pidurangala Rock.
Admisison fee to Pidurangala Rock
We came to know about Pidurangala Rock thanks to an Italian couple we met in Dambulla golden temple who advised us to visit this place instead of Lion’s Rock while in Sigiriya. They themselves had opted for Pidurangala because it was less expensive, as the entrance fee for foreign tourists was Rs 500.00 (Sri Lankans don’t pay) each for Pidurangala Rock and Rs 3900.00 (Rs 50.00 for Sri Lankans) for Lion’s Rock. We had never heard about this place before, probably because it is not pointed out on the Sri Lanka tourist map or guide. Otherwise tourist would definitely consider visiting Pidurangala Rock since Colombo to Sigiriya (or from any other Sri Lankan cities) is well connected by the public transport.
Where to stay near Pidurangala Rock and what to wear during the hike.
In Sigiriya, we were staying in a hotel called Back Of Beyond Pidurangala, which was just 15 minutes’ walk from the Rock. We started hiking around 4 pm to catch the sunset from the top. It is, in fact, popular and famous among the Sri Lankans, hiking the brother Rock (this is what they call it) during the sunset or sunrise in order to catch the most beautiful and colourful moment. The hike starts at the entrance of a Buddhist temple located at the base of a small hill; We paid Rs.500.00 as a kind of donation fee, to pass through the Temple. Make sure to take a sarong with you, as you’ll need to cover your shoulders and knees when going through the temple area, as it should be in all holy places.
We were wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts/skirt but fortunately, at the ticket office, they had some available free of charge for those, like us, who weren’t dressed properly. Just behind the temple, there is a path leading upwards to the caves where the sleeping Buddha’s statue is located. Until that point, the trail is perfectly manageable, but starting from there it begins to be a bit challenging; it could be very difficult for seniors. But if you are young, you could even have fun climbing between rocks to reach the top.We highly recommend comfortable clothes, backpack and good shoes which are essential especially for the second part of the hike which started after the cave Temple. Only a real Sri Lankan can do it with slippers. I was wearing sandals and at a certain point, I had to hike barefoot. If having luggage, you can leave them at the ticket office. In this case, don’t forget to make sure with the staff about the closing time.
Don’t forget to take some water with you; we bought a water bottle at the small shop by the entrance.
There are monkeys on the way up, ignore them and don’t give them eye contact because they might jump at you if they feel observed too much. There are massive boulders blocking the way up the rock, we suggest that you climb with someone or join a group on the way because you can help each other up and around the rocks. It took us a while to figure out how to climb them but we still reached the top in only about 30 minutes and once there the amazing view in front of us knocked our socks off. Pidurangala Rock was not quite as tall as Lion’s Rock but beside of being very cheap, from the top it provided spectacular and impressive views of the surrounding areas.
We wished we could stay longer but sadly just after the sunset, before it could get completely dark, we had to come down to the temple and walk fast to our hotel which was, yes, close to the rock but at that time could still be dangerous since the wild elephants start coming around when the darkness comes. A tuk-tuk back to the hotel would certainly have been a smarter idea.
In total it took us about 3 hours back and forth.
By the way, remember that it is a n-fly zone for drones.
Pidurangala Rock vs Lion’s Rock
Pidurangala Rock was, in fact, a great option in Sigiriya. But in our opinion, it is not an alternative to the Lion’s Rock because they are totally different from each other. One has a spectacular view and the other one has a great historical significance. Time and money permitting we highly recommend both of them because they both deserve a visit.