The trek to the summit of Pidurangala is best made to catch the sunrise or sunset when the sun paints the surrounding landscape in varying hues. Of course, a sunrise climb also means you would avoid the heat which is a great plus point too!
The ascent takes around 45 minutes (depending on your pace) and there is much to see on the way up. The entrance to Pidurangala is actually through a Buddhist temple; do remember this is a place of worship so you do need to wear suitable attire. The temple does offer shawls though for those who need to cover up when going through the premises; ensure to return it on your way back. Also keep in mind, within the temple premises to remove any footwear, which you can carry with you.
Once you have passed the main area of the temple you can put back on your footwear and more comfortable attire for climbing (shorts, t-shirts, caps, hiking shoes, etc.).
The climb begins with a relatively easy ascent, depending on your level of fitness of course! Ancient steps carved into the slopes sheltered by trees are reminders that this rock has been witness to many tales from centuries past. Keep your eye out for animals who call Pidurangala home; you may see monkeys eyeing the human visitors to their territory or a flash of colour as a bird flies from its perch in the trees. Be mindful there may be snakes too resting in the shade.
After around 15 to 20 minutes you will reach a plateau-like area where you can take time to just soak up the amazing panorama. You will find some historic ruins here, along with one of the highlights, a statue of a reclining Buddha; the age-old plaster now only covers the bottom half, the rest made up of russet coloured bricks exposed to the elements.
Take a moment to also perhaps catch your breath, because the climb is about to get more challenging!
While the first part is straightforward, the second half requires a bit more effort; some places will require you to manoeuvre (this includes creeping and crawling) under and over rocks, so do be mindful of getting scraped or losing your footing.
After a short while, you will reach your reward; a breathtaking vista of an emerald carpet of greenery leading up to the inspiring sight of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, soaring majestically to the clouds. As time passes, it is easy to get lost in this sight and do take your time just soaking it all in.
Of course, it goes without saying that this is a definite Instagram and selfie hotspot, though do be respectful of the environment, those around you and the fact that this is a historic attraction.