Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Pidurangala Facts: About Pidurangala, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya as seen from the top of Pidurangala Rock

Located to the north of Sigiriya, Pidurangala is often overlooked. This site has an interesting history closely related to Sigiriya. The site has been occupied on and off for over two thousand years by monks who lived in the caves around the site. It really came into the fore when King Kasyapa (477- 495 AD) who built Sigiriya moved monks living around Sigiriya to a newly refurbished and enlarged monastery here.

There is a small entrance fee to enter the main site. The white temple building was built in the 1930s but houses within it is a cave temple dating back thousands of years. It has objects from various vintages juxtaposed within it reflecting Buddhist, Hindu and even western influences.

The climb to the summit can be broken up into two stages. The first stage has very steep irregular steps leading to a landing. This stage is strenuous but doable by reasonably fit people. (If you climbed Sigiriya you can climb this). On this first landing is located shallow cave with a beautiful statute of a recumbent Buddha inside. This statue was at one time the largest brick statue of Buddha in the world. The head and torso of the statue were damaged by treasure hunters in the 1960s and have been reconstructed.

Reclining Buddha Pidurangala, Sri Lanka

The second stage of the climb starts at the far end of this landing and should only be attempted by those who are reasonably fit and not over-weight. Your size and fitness becomes an issue here because you have clamber up steep boulders and creep through very tight crevices. Once you finally reach the top you will be welcomed by a magnificent vista similar to that on the top of Sigiriya. From almost anywhere Sigiriya looms majestically. You can even see the people climbing Sigiriya. On the top are the nondescript ruins of a dagoba.

The stupa on the left near the entrance to the vihara is believed to mark the spot where King Kasyapa was cremated. 

Stupa, Pidurangala, Sri Lanka