The village of Kandalama is a gateway to Sigiriya, one of the oldest, largest and most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Asia. It’s a convenient base to visit the ancient rock fortress, which dates to the 5th century AD and towers over the surrounding plains and forests. Visit a series of 2,000-year-old cave temples and enjoy delicious Sri Lankan cuisine.
Things to do in Kandalama
Sigiriya towers 180 metres over the surrounding plains and is one of the most impressive sights in Sri Lanka. The flat-topped rock was commandeered by a 5th-century king, who built a royal palace on the summit. Locals call it the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and it’s easy to see why. A series of steep staircases wind up to the summit, where you can explore the ruins of the ancient kingdom. Snap a photo with the enormous set of carved lion's paws and take in the spectacular views over the surrounding grasslands and forests.
Step back in time and visit the spellbinding Cave Temples. The temples date to the 1st century BC and are decorated with beautifully preserved Buddhist paintings and statues. Some of the oldest cave art is more than 2,000 years old.
Sri Lanka will tantalise you with mouth-watering cuisine and Kandalama restaurants don’t disappoint. For breakfast, enjoy crispy “egg hopper” pancakes topped with sweet onion chutney. After a day of sightseeing, refuel with creamy coconut dahl, vegetable curries and shredded roti fried with minced meat.
Getting around Kandalama
Kandalama is compact and easy to get around on foot. Hiring a taxi or rickshaw driver for the day is the easiest way to visit Sigiriya and other surrounding sights and attractions. The village is a 20-minute drive from Dambulla and 3.5 hours from Colombo. Bandaranaike International Airport is a three-hour drive away.