Pidurangala Rock, Sri Lanka – The ultimate guide!

by Kelly

The best alternative to Sigiriya Rock is Pidurangala Rock! Climbing Pidurangala Rock is a great way to view Sigiriya Rock from eye level, the view is incredible.


Not just a pretty view. Originally Sigiriya Rock was a monastery. King Kasyapa asked the monks to move to Pidurangala Rock as he wanted to turn Sigiriya into his fortress. The monks moved over to Pidurangala Rock and built their monastery at the top.

When is the best time to climb Pidurangala Rock?

The best time to climb is at sunrise or sunset, however this is also the busiest time. We arrived in Sigiriya at about 11am and decided to head up Pidurangala at about 2pm. We were alone for about an hour before people started arriving.

How long does it take?

It depends on your fitness level but it takes about half an hour.

Getting there:

Google maps will easily lead you to the car park and at the base you’ll head up from there.

What should I take?

Good shoes – Sneakers over thongs. I saw someone climb it in fluffy slippers…it was the craziest thing. Seriously wear closed shoes!

Water – you will 100% need it when you get to the top

Snacks – we shared some lollies at the top. Just make sure you take your rubbish with you…and you don’t let the monkeys see it.

Sunscreen and hat: If you go during the day you could get burnt at the top. The hike up is mostly in the shade, but the top is quite open.

Camera – You will really want to capture the view.

I always take my first aid kit everywhere we go just in case!

We filmed some of our climb up, check out our video at

The climb!

There is a ticket desk as you enter. They will check your bags as well. We had to leave our drone at the entry counter window as they are banned from Piduranagala.

You’ll also need to take off your shoes as you go up to the temple. Take the time to go in and see the art on the walls.

Temple walls at Piduangara

I was pretty scared of all the monkeys racing around in gangs here but they left us alone, thank goodness!

From the temple there are 3 ways to climb up, one on the right, a middle one and left. We waited and some locals came down telling us to use the left one. This path was okay the stairs were pretty easy if a little steep!

The stairs lead to the first level where you will come to a lovely view and the monastery area where there is a large lying down Buddah.

Lying down Buddah at Pidurangala Rock

The boulders…

This is where the tricky part starts. From here you will head around a corner and reach the boulder section. I read that this wasn’t too hard…except I really struggled with it! You definitely need to be careful, while Mike was absolutely find jumping over massive boulders and climbing up them, I really did not. There are arrows that point the way but there aren’t a lot of them so there’s a bit of a guessing game there. On some of the rocks you need someone ahead of you to hang on to when you are getting from one boulder to another as there is nowhere to hang on to.

The next section is where you will need to ascend to the big rock face where you can sit and view Sigiriya Rock. Most people go left, there is a big rock where you can leap up and drag yourself to the top. I really couldn’t do it. I tried but I was too anxious. Finally I went up the centre underneath the two even bigger boulders and discovered I could get up more easily. This is definitely the path to choose (even if going under these two boulders was a little nerve racking!)

Climb Pidurangala Rock

The View!

The view from the top was spectacular! I could see how beautiful it would be at sunrise with a pink sky. You can walk around and climb a little higher but the best views are from the first level. We watched the views across to Sigiriya Rock and had the place to ourselves for an hour before people began coming up for sunset. We started to go down at around 4:30pm as it was pretty busy.

Going down.

It is much easier to go down than up. The boulders are a little easier to get down as they are quite large but a little bit of a drop is easier than hauling yourself up them!

Final word:

It is tricky to get up there but it is worth it! Give it a go…try for sunrise!

Where to next:

Ultimate self drive Sri Lanka itinerary

Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Best way to spend one day in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Pidurangala Rock, Sri Lanka – The ultimate guide!

What to do in Sigiriya when you don’t climb Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka

Why Theva Residency is the best hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya – home of tea plantations Sri Lanka

Lime & Co Kaba – perfect beach hotel in Sri Lanka

Midigama & Kabalana – two perfect little beach towns you should visit

Gluten Free in Sri Lanka

Tuk tuk hire Sri Lanka – Renting and driving a tuk tuk around Sri Lanka!

Your go to Sri Lanka packing list

Dambulla and the Golden Buddah Temple

You may also like

Leave a Comment