PIDURANGALA ROCK SRI LANKA - WHY YOU HAVE TO HIKE IT
Pidurangala Rock mirrors the more famous and popular Sigiriya Rock in so many ways. They are both volcanic hills rising out of the Sri Lankan jungle, and they are both richly steeped in history. Pidurangala Rock is only a 20-minute walk from Sigiriya Rock. What's more, in my opinion, the view from the top of Pidurangala is more impressive than Sigiriya. Climbing Pidurangala Rock completes the history of King Kasyapas' reign, offers a chance to explore a more natural setting, visit cave temples, see what was once the largest brick reclining Buddha in the world, and experience history without the crowds.
PIDURANGALA SIGIRI RAJAMAHA VIHARAYA. A visit to Pidurangala Rock starts at the ticket counter located at the bottom of the hill. You pay a nominal entrance fee and pass into the grounds. A very well-maintained staircase takes you to Pidurangala Sigiri Rajamaha Viharaya, a white temple just up from the ticket office.
The building was constructed in the 1930's, but it protects cave paintings that date back thousands of years, much like a smaller version of the Dambulla Cave Temple. This is an active religious site, so women are requested to wear appropriate temple garments and cover their shoulders and knees. The trail up Pidurangala Rock challenges you more than climbing Sigiriya Rock, so having a coverup that you can remove after you leave the lower temple is a great idea.
The temple at Pidurangala Rock consisted of five buildings: a stupa, a shrine room, a bodhigara or house around a Bodhi tree, a gathering hall, and a preaching hall. This description seems to fit the archeological site at the base of Pidurangala Rock better than the cave paintings or the reclining Buddha you’ll see further up the climb. I have read descriptions on the web attributing Pidurangala Temple to any one of these three locations. Regardless, it’s not very often you get to see thousand-year-old cave painting and well worth a visit on the way up Pidurangala.