I travelled to Sri Lanka for the second time over the New Year holidays. This time instead of the coast, I opted to explore the wonders of the interior – Kandy, Ella, Dambulla and on to Sigiriya.
Like everyone else, I initially Googled best things to see in Kandy, Sri Lanka and ‘Sigiriya Rock’ came up on every list. Hardly surprising, as Sigiriya Rock or ‘Lion Rock’ is one of the island’s most revered and popular destinations. It may seem to be a large rock formation at first, but it is much more. The rock shelters and caves are known to have been home to monks and it was also the site of a royal palace and capital built by King Kashyapa many centuries ago.
Visiting Sigiriya Rock threw up two choices for us. Get to the rock and climb it to enjoy the limitless views or see Sigiriya Rock in all its grandeur from a vantage point. We chose the latter and decided to visit Pidurangala Rock and see Sigiriya Rock from there. Also, it costs just USD 3 compared to the USD 30 charged for foreigners at Sigiriya. Why visiting Pidurangala Rock costs so less, I found out the hard way.
Whatever the Internet says about how easy or difficult the climb up Pidurangala Rock is, it is a tough climb especially if you are a city person and your idea of climbing is an elevator or escalator. Here’s my advice. Carry a bottle of water. Avoid visiting in the afternoon as it gets hot. Wear shoes. Don’t look at the locals racing up nimbly from rock to rock in flip flops. Don’t give up like I did!
The climb up Pidurangala Rock proved a bit too much for me. I did make it 75% of the way up to a sleeping Buddha. But the remaining 10 minutes of further climbing from rock to rock I just could not muster the will to continue. Sitting on a rock, exhausted, it dawned on me why as to why it’s just USD 3 to climb up Pidurangala Rock.