Pidurangala rock Hiking guide,Sri Lanka

DIY Hiking Guide To Pidurangala Rock, Sri Lanka

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The Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple is a significant archaeological site in the history of Sri Lanka. However, Pidurangala Rock is a popular hiking destination for thrill-seekers and offers panoramic views of the Sigiriya Hill Fortress. Built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century AD, the Pidurangala temple resides just a few kilometers from the North of Sigiriya. The massive hill stands tall in all its glory and is difficult to climb. Thus, you’ll not find too many tourists at this place. 

If you’re looking to climb this giant rock but don’t have all the information about it, you’ve arrived at the right place. In this blog, we provide essential details for you to climb. We will take you through timings, entry fees, the trail to be followed, and more. 

Pidurangala Rock Hiking Guide

How To Reach Pidurangala?

Pidurangala can be reached only via the road. Hop on a public bus or tuk-tuk, or use your own vehicle. If you own a car/bike, that’ll be convenient. Alternatively, you can also hire vehicles from rental services. Below are a few ways to reach them.

From Sigiriya Lion’s Rock

From the Sigiriya Lion’s Rock entrance, you must take a left and walk for about 2 Km. Follow the direction boards installed at the entrance. Just after a checkpoint gate, you have to take a left. After this, it is a straightforward walk in the Sigiriya-Pidurangala Wildlife Sanctuary.

You can also hop on a tuk-tuk and go to the Pidurangala rock entrance from the Sigiriya Lion’s Rock.

From Dambulla

There are frequent buses at least once every hour from Dambulla to Sigiriya. The bus to Sigiriya goes until here. From here, you must walk 3 Km to reach the Pidurangala ticket counter.

Note: Uber and PickMe are not available in the region.

Network Availability

Pidurangala has very good connectivity with Dialog and Airtel on all parts of the trail until the summit.

ATM Availability

There are no ATMs available in the region. You have to go to Sigirya town or Dambulla. The entry fee has to be paid in cash. So keep enough cash with you before you begin the journey.

Languages Spoken

Most people speak the local language, Sinhalese. However, the officers at the entrance and a few people can communicate in basic English.

Parking Availability

There is a lot of free parking space near the entrance.

Restroom Facilities

A restroom is available at the base or the trek starting point. Come prepared, as you will need to answer nature’s call in the outdoors.

Related: Use these super helpful public restroom tips during your travels. 

Best Time To Visit

Closer view of the Sigiriya rock fortress from the Pidurangala rock
Closer view of the Sigiriya rock fortress from the Pidurangala rock

The weather is excellent between December and April, and it is the best time to visit Pidurangala.

Although less popular when compared to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Pidurangala Rock has been gaining popularity over the years. The crowd will be sparse in the early morning, but as the day goes by, the number of people increases rapidly. So it’s best to do the hike first thing in the morning. By starting early, you can beat the rush and the scorching heat.

Where To Eat?

For breakfast and lunch, you don’t have many options near Pidurangala. But there are a few snack shops near the base where you can grab quick bites and drinks.

There are no drinking water resources or water bodies to refill your bottle en route, so it is better to have a filled bottle before you start the hike.

Note: Online home delivery services like Uber Eats are unavailable in the region.

Where To Stay?

There are various accommodations available for visitors staying near Pidurangala. The closer the accommodation to Sigiriya and Pidurangala, the higher the prices. The best option is to choose a stay in Dambulla. We stayed in Robert’s Inn homestay ($). The owner was very friendly and had a two-wheeler to rent as well.

Here are a few other recommendations.

 

Things To Do In Pidurangala

Hiking the Piduranagala rock is the most popular activity in the region. However, about 2500 years ago, the Cave Temple was home to several monks. When King Kashyapa (477 – 497 AD) began his rule, he rehabilitated the monks by moving them to a monastery at Pidurangala. 

Hiking Details

Distance to the base: 20 Km from Dambulla

Entry Fee: Free for Sri Lankan nationals, LKR 1000 per person for foreigners. No discount for SAARC nationals.

Registration: No registration or pre-online booking is required.

Timings: From 5 AM to 7 PM

Duration: 30 minutes for the ascend and 20 minutes to descend.

Maximum Altitude: 255.7 m

Hike Distance: 0.74 Km, one way

Difficulty Level: Easy, highly subject to your fitness level.

Terrain: steps, rocks, and huge boulders

Hiking Route:

Pidurangala royal cave temple and hiking entrance

The hike starts from the ticket counter where the central courtyard called Dhatrihumadiraya and Bo tree are located. You must remove your footwear and carry it in hand for the first 50 meters until you cross the temple.

Pidurangala royal cave temple

A sleeping Buddha resides in the cave. This is called Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple.

Pidurangala hiking route

When you cross the Cave Temple, you can spot the flight of stairs on your right. Hike all the way up for about 15 minutes. The hiking route is enveloped in dense thickets and a canopy of trees on both sides of the path. Thus, the path remains cool under their shadow and helps hikers climb with relative ease.

Hiking trail near to the cave
Pidurangala buddha statue

After crossing a shallow cave wherein the walls are ruined, a 12.5 m long reclining Buddha can be found. You can get the first glimpse of the surrounding forests upon reaching this statue. This was the largest brick statue of Buddha in the world when it was built. Unfortunately, the head and torso of the statue were destroyed by treasure hunters in the 1960s, but it was soon restored. It is said that one amuna of paddy fields and Kahavanu coins were donated to the mason named Dalaganayunaka.

Watch out for direction signs along the way. When you move further, the hike gets trickier as there are no defined paths or stairs. You have to cross huge boulders in a narrow pathway for about 100 m. Look around to see the Sigiriya rock on your left.

View of Sigiriya rock fortress from Pidurangala rock peak

Relax there and click pictures to add them to your memory book. After this, you can move further up and reach the summit.

At The Pidurangala Summit:

Pidurangala rock at the peak

The huge Pidurangala rock marks the summit of the hike. From the summit, you get 360° views of the surrounding forests, a clear view of Sigiriya rock fortress, and a distant white Buddha statue, to name a few. With this, your hike concludes, and you can descend whenever you please.

Important Things To Remember

  • A guide is not required to hike Pidurangala Rock.
  • Dress codes strictly apply. Cover your shoulders and knees since it is a pilgrimage site.
  • The use of plastics and smoking is strictly prohibited. As a hiker, it is incumbent on you to be responsible and not litter. Collect and bring back the waste and dispose of them in dedicated bins.
  • There is no water stream or shops once you start your hike. So carry enough refreshments with you.
  • Monkeys are found at the start of the trail. Beware of your belongings. Read the blog to learn how to deal with the monkeys.

Essential Things To Carry

  • Ensure you carry at least 1 L of water per person.
  • Take some energy bars and snacks.
  • Have your first aid kit handy.
  • Cap, sunscreen & sunglasses are essential to ward off the summer heat.
  • Carry a poncho or raincoat. They may come in handy if it rains.
  • Above all, ensure you wear comfortable shoes with good traction and grip.

Read the blog to know more about what we usually carry for day hikes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a guide required for the Pidurangala trek?

The probability of getting lost in the Pidurangala hike is nil. The straight visible route will lead you to the summit. Therefore, a guide is not required to hike Pidurangala.

Is camping allowed in Pidurangala?

No, camping is strictly not allowed in Pidurangala.

Is a GPS file required to hike Pidurangala?

As the hiking path is visible and straight, you don’t require a GPS file. If you need a GPS file, drop an email to hello@twinsontoes.com

Can the Pidurangala hike be done in a day?

Pidurangala is usually done as a day hike. One day is enough to hike both Pidurangala and Sigiriya rock fortress. You can reach back to your place of stay on the same day.

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