Sigiriya and Dambulla Caves, Pidurangala Rock

Mulgirigala Buddha statue, 5 great destinations for Sri Lanka solo travel

Sigiriya and Dambulla Caves, Pidurangala rock

Sigiriya and Dambulla caves with Pidurangala Rock temple are 3 important tourist attraction located in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka and part of the most cultural triangle tours. Sigiriya and Dambulla caves are 2 of the most visited spots in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.  All 3 places have very important historical and cultural importance, while Pidurabngla rock cave temple and Dambulla caves are popular Buddhist temple in the country. All 3 places are located very close to each other, hence the travellers can visit all these places in a single trip. These 3 tourist attractions are included in our 2 weeks Sri Lanka itinerary.

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Dambulla caves and Sigiriya rock fortress are places declared as UNESCO world heritage sites due to its cultural and historical importance. Most visitors of Sri Lanka never fails to include Sigiriya and Dambulla caves in their Sri Lanka trips. Same times many tourists do not fail to make a visit to the Piduranagla rock temple due to its religious and historical importance. Especially the visitors of Sigiriya rock fortress can visit Pidurangala rock after 10 minutes walk from the Sigiriya rock.

Sigiriya rock fortress

Sigiriya and Dambulla Caves

Sigiriya is a monolith and this natural attraction with human touch was originated in the 5th century AD. It was functioned as a fortress more than 1500 years ago, even today a large number of holidaymakers gathering here to witness the gardens, reservoirs, swimming pools, ruins of places and audience halls that existed in the early days of the fortress.

Perhaps Sigiriya is the most iconic natural rock, which rises up to 300 meters from the sea level, in the northern plains of Sri Lanka. It is truly a symbol of advance knowledge of water management, urban planning and defence. There may be a large number of similar rock in the region that surpass the magnitude size of Sigiriya, but ‘Sigiriya rock fortress’ there is only one. Well, this is the place, where a countless number of tourists visits during their holidays in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya also showcases some of the most exquisite painting from the early days of Sinhalese civilizations. Sigiriya frescoes are also estimated to be as old as the Sigiriya fortress and it shows the artistic capabilities of ancient artisans.  Therefore, this popular tourist destination due to its historical importance and included in most Sri Lanka tour itineraries. Sigiriya is popular due to many reasons, using advanced technical know how way back in the 5th century AD, as well as rich artistic works, are the 2 most important reasons. The frescoes of Sigiriya have scattered throughout the site. They can be observed at the western slope of the main rock, and in other granite caves. The frescoes at Sigiriya have a close relationship with paintings at Ajanta Caves, India.

When describing this attraction I would like to apply the phrase “You need to see it” for all my readers. Couple of years earlier importance of Sigiriya was emphasized as a destination to explore by Popular Mechanics. Seerendipity tours organize regular excursions and tours in Sri Lanka covering most attractions in the cultural triangle such as Sigiriya and Dambulla, so you have the opportunity to see this beautiful rock fortress, call us or write us.

Popular Mechanics have listed Sigiriya Rock palace Eco-Extraordinaire on their eclectic ‘World’s Strangest’ lists. The ancient masterpiece which stands as Sri Lanka’s landmark in world culture and heritage, Sigiriya, has won yet another international accolade. American Magazine Popular Mechanics lists the garden of Sigiriya amongst its “World’s 18 strangest gardens”, remarking upon the intricacy and ingenuity with which King Kashyapa designed his refuge and fortress.

Sigiriya rock fortress is situated in the central province of Sri Lanka. It is at the heart of the Matale district. Sigiriya fortress is situated at the heart of Sigiriya cultural site and it is surrounded by a large tract of unattended land, which is a part of the Sigiriya cultural site.

Historians believe this unexplored tract of land also hides some of the very advanced architectural and engineering works of ancient Sri Lanka. In the immediate surroundings of the fortress, there are a large number of gardens, reservoir, swimming pools, and other construction. The Sri Lankan entrants keep uncanny bed-fellows on the list: Sigiriya accompanied by the likes of the majestic Gardens of the Versailles Palace in France, and the more kitschy Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland, spotted with grass black holes and flowery double helixes.

The 5th century landscaped garden of Sigiriya and its system is not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly functional. The highly advanced water management system at Sigiriya shows the thorough grasp of trigonometry and hydraulic principals of the ancient engineers. The intricate network of water canals, pools, reservoir, gardens, boulders, terrace gardens are impressively designed to form a unique architectural marvel by the early inhabitants of ancient Sri Lanka.

Day Trip From Bentota To Kandy

Sigiriya to Kandy

Kandy is another important tourist attraction in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka and it is an important UNESCO world heritage sites in Sri Lanka. The distance from Kandy to Sigiriya is just 90 km. Therefore most travellers who, visit Kandy also visit Sigiriya. The travel time from Sigiriya to Kandy can be 1 hour to 2 hours, depending on the way you travel from Sigiriya to Kandy and vice-a-vers. Usually, it might take around 1 hour to drive from Sigiriya to Kandy if you have private transport and travelling time from Sigiriya to Kandy can be 2 hours if you travel by public bus.

Travelling from Kandy Sigiriya to Kandy is very easy because Kandy is well connected to Sigiriya by A9 highway. A9 highway is one of the busiest roads in Sri Lanka starts in Kandy and runs up to the northernmost city of Sri Lanka. A large number of regular buses plying on this road, therefore it will be very easy to find a way to go to Sigiriya from Kandy even with public buses.

Kandy to Sigiriya day trip

Venturing on a Kandy to Sigiriya day trip is one of the best ways to explore this historical city. If you plan a day trip from Kandy to Sigiriya, it naturally includes both Sigiriya and Dambulla. Because Sigiriya and Dambulla are 2 major tourist attraction near each other and none of the tourists would like to miss any of them. Kandy to Sigiriya day trip is a very popular activity among the travellers in Sri Lanka. And there is a high demand for this short trip, Kandy to Sigiriya day trip. The reason being a large number of travellers based in Kandy during their Sri Lanka holiday and make day trips to important tourist attractions such as Kandy, Nuwara Eliya.

What are the place can be visited on a Kandy to Sigiriya day trip

  1. Dambulla Caves
  2. Spice garden Matale
  3. Matale Aluvihara temple
  4. Srimuttumari Amman temple
  5. Minneriya safari
  6. safari at eco park
  7. Birding in Sigiriya
  8. Village tour in Habarana

Dambulla cave temple

Dambulla Caves

Dambulla is a calm, quiet and laidback city in the central province of Sri Lanka. Dambulla is one of the most popular villages, where many tourists visit the popular Dambulla caves to see the charming Dambulla Buddhist temple complex. Dambulla is a very popular village and consists of many cave temples rendering a peaceful sense of spirituality. Dambulla caves are located within the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka and it is located near Sigiriya, Pidurangala rock, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The travelling time from Dambulla to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa is around 40 minutes while the travelling time from Dambulla to Sigiriya is just about 10 minutes.

There are dozens of Buddhist and Hindu religious places in Dambulla and most of Buddhist temples located in the vicinity are of historical importance. Some of them are world heritage sites such as Dambulla caves. Dambulla caves are the most popular historical cave temple in Sri Lanka, which is dating back to 1st century BC. Dambulla caves are located on a hillock, which is over 1000 steps into the Dambulla hill is dedicated to Buddha and history is such that king Walagambahu took refuge at the temple during a south Indian invasion, in which king lost the kingdom. Once the king regained the control of his kingdom he added many numbers of statues and beautified the caves with paintings.

Dambulla caves are worth giving a visit and you will be captivated by the temple’s beauty and presence of silence giving you a feeling of calmness. It is one of the most worthy cave temples in Sri Lanka where you will find the most destined place of spirituality.

statues of dambulla cave temple

How to go to Dambulla to Sigiriya?

Going Dambulla to Sigiriya is very easy and it does not take more than 30 minutes to travel from Dambulla to Sigiriya. Usually, most road trips include both Sigiriya and Dambulla and people visit both places. The distance from Dambulla to Sigiriya is 18 kilometres on Dambulla habaran main road. it will take around 30 mi9nutes to reach Dambulla if you have private transport otherwise it might take around 1 hour to drive to Sigiriya from Dambulla by public buses.

Pidurangala rock

Towards the north-east of Sigiriya Rock is a famous hill of Pidurangala rising about one mile from the site. Pidurangala rock cave temple is also a part of many Sri Lanka tours that include Sigiriya and Dambulla caves. The rock temple abruptly rises up to 200 m from the surrounding area. An ancient cave dates back to Anuradhapura period, with an inscription written below the drip ledge, situated at the foot of the hill has been restored to a modern vihara. By this site, an ancient path of rough stepping stones leads up the hill where the overhanging rock on the eastern side shelters a very long cave.

Abhayagiri

History of Pidurangala rock cave temple

King Kashyapa who built Sigiriya also built Pidurangala rock cave temple. This monastery housed over 500 Buddhist monks and was completed with the five ritual sections: the chapter house, image house, a Bo-tree, a shrine and monks dwellings. In Pidurangala rock are meditation caves, paintings, and a statue of a reclining Buddha.

Pidurangala rock temple is one of the well known historical places on the island. A part of the Pidurangala rock temple is located at the base of the mountain and rest of the temple is built to close to the pinnacles. Built on this Pidurangala rock are a Buddhist monastery and a cave temple.

Image house of Piduranghala rock cave temple is built in a huge granite cave located at the ground level houses several Buddha statues in meditation, standing and reclining postures. The image house of Pidurangala rock cave temple is also dating back to the 5th century AD (as old as Sigiriya rock fortress). There is a number of paintings and statues at Pidurangala rock cave temple image house depicting various incidents of Buddha’s life.

Also at the summit, Pidurangala rock is the remnant of the shrine and the site at which young monks were taught. Remarkably, the Pidurangala rock has drip ledge to prevent rain from falling into the meditation caves. The rock edges are carved on to the outer surface of the opening and it is one of the oldest engineering works in the world. A Brahmi inscription on one of these drop edges the original temple back to the period of third century B.C.

The Sigiriya area has many such cave dwellings used by monks for meditation but it is believed that given Kashyapa’s patronage, Pidurangala rock temple had prominence as the spiritual centre for his court.

How do I go to Pidurangala rock cave temple?

Pidurangala rock cave temple is located towards the southern borders of Sigiriya rock fortress and near Sigiriya nature reserve. The narrow road that goes along the water ditch makes the way to Pidurangala rock cave temple. Today it is one of the major religious places in the area and attracts a large number of local devotees. A part of the historical Pidurangala rock cave temple is located on a mountain while the rest of it to be found at the ground level of the hill.

At the Pidurangala rock, there is a 14 meter long Buddha statue believed to be dating back to the 5th century AD. The Buddha statue is made of bricks shows fine craftsmanship of the historical artisans. Unfortunately, the part of the statue is destroyed by the relic hunters in the past. There is a big hole dug into the statue in the belly area of the reclining Buddha statue. The footpath between the dry zone forest vegetation leads to the summit. There are several caves on the rocky hill of Pidurangala and they had been using by the residential monks in the early days.

What do I see in Pidurangal rock cave temple?

Within the cave, numerous chambers built of small stones and clay plaster face the eastern direction. An inscription datable to the 7th century has been found on the rocky ground in front of cave 9 and records the grant of gold and paddy fields. It is still recognizable on the brick wall of this chamber painting of a female figure in green in much the same style as the paintings on the main rock of Sigiriya. The chamber 10 also built of brick and plastered white is the largest within the cave. Much of the plaster is lost from the walls of this main shrine room which contains along brick and stucco recumbent image of the Buddha.

Archaeologists are in different views as far as the beginning of the temple is a concern, as the archaeologist’s claim that the temple was built from 5th to 10th century.  The two side walls of the shrine belong to a later period than the walls of the other chambers. On the outer face of these two walls are to be seen pilasters moulded in brick and plastered and recessed arches. Beyond the shrine, there are the remains of another chamber and two rock-cut ponds lie further ahead.

Posted by

Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka, I am trying to illuminate my readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka travel. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, we can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka. Please contact us on info@seerendipitytours.com

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