The Sigiriya Rock Fortress might be stealing the show as a must-visit destination in Sri Lanka but the Pidurangala Rock, located just 2.5 km north of it, comes in as a close second; possibly offering even more panoramic views than its counterpart!

It is a hidden gem now slowly gaining popularity thanks to the cult of growing Instagram influencers who have sealed the site’s fate, as one of the most scenic spots in the region. However, Pidurangala Rock also lays claim to its own fascinating history. This is closely tied to that of the Lion Rock aka the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, and the king who made it his royal abode.

The legend has it that after King Kashyapa, (477 to 495 AD) usurped the throne by committing patricide he feared retaliation by his brother, the rightful heir. He thus scouted for a secure location to build his palace. The king is said to have relocated the Buddhist monks who were occupying the cave complex at Sigiriya Rock to a new monastery in Pidurangala known as “Uppalavanna Kashyapa Girri Viharaya”, built under his patronage. Another popular belief is that the site was home to monks seeking seclusion even before the time of King Kashyapa and that its historical significance ebbed and flowed since the first and second century BC.

You can rest assured that the spectacular eyeful of the rock fortress flanked by rolling lake and land vistas, are sure to make you forget the tricky climb and how tempted you were to turn back halfway!