Ritigala Ruins

The Ancient Cities

The ruins of Ritigala forest monastery complex consist of two main groups, with dozens of smaller buildings and residences hidden among the boulders. Budget a couple of hours for a visit.

Paths lead from the ticket office past an Archaeology Department bungalow to the huge banda pokuna (artificial pond), which still fills with water during the rainy season. From here you cross the inlet over a stone bridge and follow the ceremonial staircase past the first of three round junctions.

The first main ruin is a large reception building. A path to the right leads to the janthagara (monastery bathhouse), with a central sunken bath surrounded by a roofed colonnade. You can still see the grinding stones used to prepare the baths.

Further up the flagstone staircase is the main roundabout, with two paths to the left. The first leads back past half-hidden ruins to a monolithic bridge and raised library. There are several other buildings here to explore.

Further up the main staircase you finally get to Building No 16, a padhanaghara (double-platformed building) set in a moat-like depression, used for meditation, teaching and ceremony. Look for the ornate latrine stone in the right corner.

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This prominent rock about 1km north of the Sigiriya site, offers amazing views of Sigiriya from its wide summit. It's a 20-minute hike up to the top, past…

2. Sigiriya Museum

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3. Main Entrance

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This is where you have your ticket checked and enter the main site.

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As you walk from the Sigiriya main entrance to the rock itself you pass a series of charming symmetrical water gardens, including curved tanks, bathing…

5. Royal Gardens

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6. Mirror Wall

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Beyond the Sigiriya frescoes, the path clings to the sheer side of the rock and is protected on the outside by a 3m-high wall. This wall (not the actual…

7. Lion’s Paws

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