Located about a kilometre north of Sigiriya, the massive rock formation of Pidurangala has a history that is closely related to the rock fortress. Built by King Kasyapa, this rock served as the royal temple during his reign in the 5th Century AD and today is one of the main places to visit in Sigiriya. The Buddhist monastery which housed over 500 monks contains the Chapter House, Image House, a sacred Bo tree, a shrine and monks’ dwellings. The climb to the summit can be divided into two stages, the first is up flights of irregular steps that lead to a landing, and the second stage starts at the far end of the landing past the reclining Buddha, and has no clearly defined path or steps. Reaching the summit of Pidurangala is like being on the roof top of the world – it offers a magnificent view of the surrounding area which includes the Sigiriya Rock.
On the way to the top is a 15 metre long statue of the reclining Buddha made of brick and stucco, and set under a rock overhang. The statue, which was vandalized by treasure hunters, is now being restored and is considered to be the oldest brick built Buddha statue in Sri Lanka. An old dagaba, known as Kasyapa’s Stupa, is believed to be a cremation site dating back to the Sigiriya era. The white temple building near the main entrance houses within it a cave temple which has a history that goes back many thousands of years, and the drip ledge from the ancient temple is visible above the roof line of the building.
The four hour excursion begins at 15.30 hours, leaving the hotel after lunch. The distance from the hotel to and from the site is 10 km, and there is approximately 3 km of climbing at the site. Guests are provided with a water bottle, binoculars, transport, entrance fees and fresh fruit juice on return to the hotel. Wear comfortable clothes suitable for a visit to a religious site, shoes that are suitable for climbing, sunglasses, caps or hats and bring your camera, insect repellent and sun block with you.