Sigiriya Culture & history

Our most recommended Sigiriya Culture & history

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

2. Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

Explore the best of Sri Lanka with this tour to the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, rolling tea tea plantations in Ella, the chance to see wild elephants in the Udawalawa National park. Have your hotels, dinners, and breakfasts arranged for you in this fantastic tour package. Day 1 - Be welcomed by your guide at the Colombo International Airport where your guide will take you to your hotel in Colombo. Day 2 - Journey from Colombo to Sigiriya after getting your negative test results and eating a filling breakfast. Visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Relax before heading to the ancient rock fortress Sigiriya before having dinner and staying at a 4star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 3 - Travel to Kandy after a hearty breakfast to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which holds the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka. Take some time to unwind in your hotel before proceeding to see the amazing flora at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Eat dinner and stay overnight at a four star hotel in Kandy. Day 4 - Next, have a full breakfast before heading to Ella to walk among the lush tea plantations. Learn more about the colonial history of Sri Lanka and take in the stunning landscape views. Return to your hotel in Ella for dinner and to rest. Day 5 - After breakfast, drive to Udawalawa National park where you can spot elephants in their natural habitat.

From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

3. From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

After getting picked up from your hotel in Bentota or Kalutara, begin the 3-hour journey to the Sigirya rock fortress. Here you will discover the historical and cultural values of ancient Sri Lanka and get to witness the engineering skills and artistic capabilities of Sri Lankan artisans and engineers. Wander through this vast complex and admire the various palaces, pools, gardens, and paintings. Later, head to the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple, which is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world. Marvel at the beautiful Buddhist paintings and statues housed in this cave and see for yourself why it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, visit a spice garden where you can soak up the aromas of the various traditional spices grown here such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Head back to your hotel in the evening, just in time for dinner.

From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

4. From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

After being transported in private car with local English speaking tour guide from Negombo, you will reach your first destination: Sri Lanka's largest rock, Dambulla Cave Temple, which is built on a 600-foot high rock at an elevation of 1118 feet from sea level. It is home to the worlds most acclaimed cave complex of magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and shapes from the 2nd-century BC to the Kandyan era of the 18th-century.  Your second visit is to Sigiriya Rock, a site of historical and archaeological significance dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters (660 feet) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital. Finish your day with a tour to see the crafts of the traditional artisans in Sigiriya, including wood carvers and batik makers. Learn about the process of their work and purchase some great souvenirs.  At the end of the trip, your guide will take you back to your hotel in Negombo.

From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

5. From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Colombo. Start with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Colombo. Make your first stop at the Dambulla Cave Temple. View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple, a Cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. Go to Sigiriya to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where King Kassapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, the Lion Rock. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Go through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past.

From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

6. From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

Begin your 14-hour tour with an early-morning drive to Sigiriya. When you arrive, climb the Sigiriya Rock fortress, considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World. In the 5th century, King Kashyapa built a palace atop the rock. Sigiriya commemorates some of the turbulence of Sri Lanka’s history. Stop to enjoy a restaurant lunch before heading to Dambulla. Visit the UNESCO-listed cave temple built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. It is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of 5 caves features more than 2,000 square meters of painted walls and ceilings. See 150 images of the Buddha, of which the largest is a 14-meter-high image carved out of the rock.

Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

7. Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

Day 1 Explore the important historical monuments in Sri Lanka on this 3 days tour while visiting ancient Buddhist temples, museums, palaces, gardens, Buddha statues, and many more. Embark on an exciting and very rare 3-day cultural tour of Sri Lanka's holiest, the Cultural Triangle. Explore 5 UNESCO-listed sites where important historical monuments are to be found. Visit cultural triangle cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Kandy. Stay overnight at a hotel in Sigiriya between private-guided sightseeing ventures. Get picked up in Colombo and head to your hotel in Sigiriya via Anuradhapura, the oldest city in Sri Lanka. The first activity of the 3 days tour is the hop-on hop-off city tour of the historical city of Anuradhapura. The tour covers a large number of historical places such as Buddhist temples, dagobas, palaces, gardens, and other remarkable structures in the city testify to the grandeur of ancient civilization. The city tour also includes the most sacred 8 Buddhist sites in the city, better known as "Atamasthana", Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa, and Lankarama. Later in the day settle in for a good night's sleep at your hotel in Sigiriya. Day 2 After breakfast leave for the Sigiriya rock fortress, home to one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Your Sigiriya tour starts early morning, allowing you to escape the mid-day heat. Climb the rock and reach the summit to see the site of the King's palace, swimming pool, and king's throne. Soak up in the breathtaking scenery from the top of the pinnacle. Later drive to Polonnaruwa and see the dozens of ancient temples, Buddha statues, and many ancient structures built by ancient Kings. Witness massive stone-cut Buddha statues, dagobas, an audience hall, and much more at the cultural museum of Polonnaruwa. Later in the day Minneriya safari on an open jeep. Enhance your experience with a wildlife safari at Minneriya National Park. Spot wild elephants, bears, wild boar, deer, buffalo, monkeys, and maybe even a leopard. Stay overnight in Sigiriya. Day 3 Depart early for Colombo via Kandy, visiting a spice/herbal garden en route. In Matale, spices and herbs are used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medicine. Hear about this history as you explore the site with your guide. Later visit Dambulla Golden Temple and Tooth Relic Temple are sure to add another level of sacrosanctity to your experience. Dambulla hosts more than 150 Buddha statues and a large number of ancient murals. The next stop will be Kandy city. Today Kandy is one of Sri Lanka's most important cities because of the presence of the temple of the sacred tooth of the Buddha. This is the most visited Buddhist temple on the island, frequented by thousands of devotees every day. Return to your hotel in Colombo.

Colombo: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya Guided Day Tour with Lunch

8. Colombo: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya Guided Day Tour with Lunch

Discover the magnificent remains of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s ancient capital city, and the striking rock fortress of Sigiriya on a guided tour from Colombo. Travel to the two UNESCO World Heritage sites directly from your hotel and break up the day with a tasty Sri Lankan lunch. Start your day early, when your guide will collect you from your hotel in Colombo or Negombo, and enjoy snacking on seasonal fruit as you drive out of the city. Your first stop will be the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, one of Sri Lanka’s most important archeological sites and its second capital city. Wander between the ruins of the fabulous garden-city with your guide, and admire colossal works of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Hear how the city was, for two centuries, Sri Lanka’s thriving religious and commercial center. Stop for a fresh lunch before moving on to Sigiriya, an ancient fortress built on a gigantic column of rock. Sigiriya is believed to have been inhabited by Buddhist monks as far back as the 3rd century BC. It is home to colorful frescoes and some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. To finish the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Colombo or Negombo.

Dambulla: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya All-Inclusive Tour

9. Dambulla: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya All-Inclusive Tour

First of all you'll be picked up from your hotel in Dambulla, Sigiriya or Habarana and driven to Polonnaruwa, before arriving at Polonnaruwa ancient city to discover the ruins. Polonnaruwa is the ancient heart of Sri Lanka, and an important royal capital with its well-preserved 12th century ruins and impressive stone culture. Although nearly 1,000 years old, it is much younger than Anuradhapura - Sri Lanka's first capital - and generally in better repair. The monuments are arranged in a reasonably compact garden setting and their development is easier to follow. Afterwards, you will arrive to a local restaurant for lunch, before exploring the wondrous Rock Fortress of Sigirya. This place is famous for its toadstool of golden-hued granite, protruding into the searing blue sky from a hot, flat wilderness of scrubland, which is transformed in the rainy season to a water garden. In the 5th century, King Kashyapa domesticated the Lions Rock, by building a palace atop its summit. Sigiriya commemorates some of the turbulence of Sri Lanka’s history. Thereafter, you will be dropped off at your hotel in Dambulla/Sigiriya/Habarana .

From Negombo: 8-Day Ramayana Themed Private Trip & Temples

10. From Negombo: 8-Day Ramayana Themed Private Trip & Temples

Day 01 You will be picked up from your hotel or the airport in the selected cities and greeted by your personal guide and take you to Colombo. Overnight stay at Ceylon City Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 02 You will drive to Rumassala in Galle (approx. 2 hours). It is part of the Himalaya Hill that was fallen when Mighty Hanuman was carrying it to find life-saving herbs for saving the life of both Lords Rama and Lakshmana. After this visit, you will be taken to Ussangoda (approx. 2 hours drive). It is believed that Lord Hanuman torched some parts of King Ravana’s empire and Ussanggoda is on the torched areas. Proceed to Katharagama (approx. 2 hours) and visit Kataragama shrine. It is said that God Kataragama came from India, married a Jungle Girl from Sri Lanka and lived here. Overnight at Lake Wind Resort or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 03 After breakfast, you will be driven to Ella (approx. 3 hours) where you can visit Ravana falls and Ravana Caves. The locals believe that King Ravana has lived in one of the caves above the waterfalls. On completion, you will be driven to Nuwara Eliya (approx. 2 hours), en-route visit Hakgala Botanical gardens and Seethai Amman Temple. Overnight at Camellia Lake Resort or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 04 In the morning, you will visit the Gayathri Peedam where King Ravana's son Meghanath propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and poojas and in return was granted super natural powers by lord Shiva. After this visit, we will drive to Kandy (approx. 3 hours) en-route visit Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple - on the hills of Ramboda where Hanuman was searching for Sita. Overnight at Oak ray City Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 05 Today you can do a city tour of Kandy including visits to Botanical Garden and Temple of Tooth Relic. Overnight at Oak ray City Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 06 After breakfast drive to Sigiriya. En-route visit Dambulla Cave Temple. In the afternoon, you can climb the Sigiriya rock fortress. Overnight at Sungreen Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 07 Today you will be driven to Munneshwaram Temple and Mannavari Temple (approx. 5 hours). Munishwaram predates the Ramayana and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was located here and Mannavari Temple is the first lingam installed and prayed by Rama and till date this lingam is called as Ramalinga Shivan. Overnight at Camelot Beach Resort or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 08 There is no itinerary planned today. You will be driven to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo or the selected cities.

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What people are saying about Sigiriya

Nice trip with a good English speaking guide. We saw a lot but also a lot that was not described on the trip we what booked. When you arrive at Sigiryia Rock you have to pay for a ticket and the same thing you have to do if you go on an elephant safari in the area, so you just have to be aware of this. So what you pay for is basically a drive there. We did not get to see the temple in Dambula which was otherwise something we had been looking forward to the most.

Reliable, professional and customer-oriented.

With a little uncertainty about how this would turn out, we were pleasantly surprised. The driver picked up at 04.45, drove us and followed us all day and guided us. He was friendly and quite knowledgeable and our experience was a little more than we expected. We are pleasantly surprised again by Getyourguide and your service, guides and services. We will book you again!

The driver (Kenneth) was very accommodative and managed our tight schedule very well. He even went the extra mile and helped us to see more than what we had initially agreed — with his help we were able to visit the Ranweli spice garden, which was the cherry on top.

It's a must!

Since u are visiting Sri Lanka, u must book a trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla! Apart of a good exercise climbing the rock, the view from up and the wind makes the best experience! Highly recommended, with Aaron as a driver!

Lalli (German speaking guide) and Jayasuriya (driver) did a super job. We got to see many places and were able to experience Sri Lankan culture. It was fun, thanks for that.