Travelling from Polonnaruwa to Kandy, we decided to rent a driver to be able to experience Sigiriya and Pidurangala Rock as well as the Golden Temple or Rock Temple of Dambulla on the way. The driver also included a few other stops.
Skip Sigiriya Rock, climb Pidurangala Rock instead!
Enjoy the spectacular views from Pidurangala Rock almost all by yourself instead of queuing up like ants climbing Sigiriya Rock. Not only will you get the same grand view, but it also include the Lion Rock.
The stone stairs start from Pidurangala Temple, giving you a 20 minutes upward hike to a giant reclining Buddha. Here the path end, but continue onward through some bushes, and you will be right on track. The last part is only about five minutes, including a little bit of rock climbing. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth the amazing sight of almost everlasting green, only framed by the mountains in the far distance. And off course the massive Sigiriya Rock rising a few kilometers away.
As a bonus, to climb Pidurangala Rock you only have to pay 300LKR as a contribution to the temple by the same name, opposed to almost 4000 for Sigiriya Rock!
The Rock Temple of Dambulla
With an elongated white painted house concealing five sanctuaries carved into the rock, the Rock Temple of Dambulla is a magnificent place to visit.
The cave monastery is the largest and best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka, housing 157 Buddha statues as well as large Buddhist mural paintings.
The Rock Temple of Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important sacred pilgrimage site.
From the parking lot it is about 10 minutes uphill walk. The tickets however, are sold from an office right next to the Buddha Museum, so please remember to buy them there before heading up. The price is 1500LKR per person.
The Hindu Temple Nalanda Gedige
Nalanda Gedige is a Hindu Temple in the very center of Sri Lanka, dating back between 8th and 10th century.
Spice gardens are well known in Sri Lanka, and our driver suggested to stop and have a quick look. By all means, it can be both interesting and fascinating to see how the spices grow and the various possibilities of use, but you will feel quite obligated to buy something from their shop when you leave. You are hereby warned.
Experienced in January 2015.