Introduction to Pidurangala Viharaya
Pidurangala Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Pidurangala village of Matale District, Sri Lanka. The temple was constructed on a massive rock called Pidurangala, which is located a few kilometers north of the historical fort Sigiriya.
It is believed that the history of Pidurangala Vihara goes back beyond to the first and second century BC. From those days Pidurangala was used as a Buddhist monastery and but became a prominent place during the reign of King Kashyapa (473 - 495 AC).
According to ancient chronicles, Prince Kashyapa had killed his father King Dhatusena and fled to Sigiriya to find out a more secure place to prevent retaliation attacks from his half-brother, Mugalan. With the arrival of King Kashyapa, the Bhikkus who were meditated there were requested move to the nearby Pidurangala. In a sort of compensation, King Kashyapa refurbished the temple and made it a prominent place.
Introduction to Pidurangala Rock
Pidurangala Rock is a towering rock popular as a hiking spot which is situated a few kilometers north of Sigiriya. It is a suitable destination for moderate hikes & climbs to the top of the rock and popular for panoramic views, especially of Sigiriya along with the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. There is a giant reclining Buddha statue about halfway up the rock, which is partially reconstructed out of brick. At the base of the rock is the Pidurangala Sigiri Rajamaha Viharaya which is a white temple by the road.
Hiking Pidurangala Rock
The hike to Pidurangala rock should take approximately 30 to 40 minutes in total. The rock opens at 5 am and is best hiked in time to catch the sunrise or sunset. Pidurangala Rock stands at a height of approximately 200 m. Care should be taken on the way up the rock due to the existence of many loose rocks and snakes.
Few things to know about hiking up Pidurangala Rock!
- About a 30 to 40-minute hike.
- 500 LKR entrance fee.
- You MUST cover up shoulders, knees and remove shoes at the temple at the start of the trail.
- Cover-ups are sometimes available but bring your own for busy periods – find out below what happened to us!!!.
- Best for sunrise and sunset.
- Pidurangala Rock opens at 5 am and close at 6 pm (this is the ticket office, you can stay up at the rock until dark).
- Snakes are in the area so be careful.
- Medium difficulty hike.
- No plastic allowed (not strictly enforced).
- No toilets at Pidrangala Rock or on the trail.