This rock is merely one or two kilometers north of the famous Sigiriya citadel but is tragically overlooked by the majority, having been only regarded by historians or actual afficionados of Sri Lankan culture. However Sigiriya itself had once been a monastery and so was the rock of Pidurangala. The monastery was constructed here by the infamous King Kashyapa of the 5th Century AD, in order to make way for his palace and new city at Sigiriya. It is an inselberg, or isolated mountain that is not part of an actual range but a freestanding rock in the middle of the northern scrub forests. Earlier, there was the Pidurangala Cave Temple, including a half-plaster half-brick Buddha image in one of the grottos on the mountainside. It is a sleeping image, and the brick half is most likely a restoration done earlier on. On the wall at the back there are faded murals of gods like Vishnu and the local deity Lord Saman.

Among the greatest rewards of being at this site is the ability to observe Sigiriya itself from the summit of the Pidurangala rock.

However care must be taken not to lose your way back down, or lose your footing, both of which can happen if you’re not mindful enough about your bearings.

Written by Vasika Udurawane for

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