Sri Lanka: Sunrise Trek at Pidurangala Rock
While Pidurangala Rock is overshadowed by its adjacent more popular and enormous rival Sigiriya Lion rock, Pidurangala offers a closer to nature experience of moderate hiking and bouldering. Compared to Sigiriya where the fortress is reachable by stairs and pathways, in Pidurangala you will start with rough staircases followed by rugged terrain of uneven rocks where you cannot almost recognize the road.
Another thing to note is you only give a donation of 500 LKR(a little over 3USD) here to be able to trek this rock even without a guide as to Sigiriya where you need to pay a whooping 4600LKR(more than 30USD) and another 30USD for the guide(if you opt for one). The price itself is incomparable.
We planned to do a meet and greet with Mister Sun that day at the top of this bald rock. We woke up at 4.30am and arranged a tuk-tuk ride to the entrance of Pidurungala, paying 1200LKR for a round-trip transportation. After getting our tickets, we started our ascend at around 5am-ish, we didn't manage to bring flashlights which is helpful because it is still dark. But good thing we have our mobile phones to somehow light the bumpy coarse. We finally reach the top in less than 30 minutes of carefully stepping and passing through different sizes of rocks and stones randomly organized by nature.
Picture below shows numbers of tourist who managed to climb on top, all waiting for the sun to peek over the horizon of lush greenery. We were a bit bothered by the hazy clouds but after few moments the sun slowly breaks the dawn, exhibiting its grandeur as it paints the sky with mixture of yellow and orange blends. Forgive me as my camera was not able to give justice to this enchanting moment, there's no better way to see it but personal.
Left picture captures one of the major obstruction in climbing up or down Pidurangala, as there is only one person at a time who can pass by through this rocks in specific spot. Traffic build up for tourist going down. This is one of the moments where having long legs and arms is an advantage. Also on our way down we noticed a boulder garden(which we did not see during our ascend as it is still dark) with half white gigantic sleeping buddha lying underneath a massive rock acting as its shed. I would say perfect spot to hit the snooze :)
|Kathy, Julius, Christine and me|
Although Sigiriya rock is rich in history and archaeological significance, climbing Pidurangala rock gives you a touch of adventure with more nature-feel and harmony with Mother Earth. Not to mention in hindsight, you appreciate things better when you work hard for it. Because nothing worth having (or in our case seeing) comes easy. Thank you Pidurangala for that challenging but worthwhile climb.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” -- Jack Kerouac
Tip: If you want to cover both rocks, you can wake up for the sunrise at Pidurangala and then head to Sigiriya.