The ancient Royal Monastery of Pidurangala Rock is a short distance away from Sigiriya and an alternative less crowded feat to ascend. From its summit you can see Sigiriya and other lovely vistas of the area and sunsets are absolutely gorgeous.
This ancient Temple and Forest Monastery, was said to have been built by King Kashyapa (473-491CE) at the time of building his rock fortress atop Sigiriya Rock. Due to this construction, King Kashyapa had to relocate Buddhist Monks displaced from Sigiriya rock to a new location. The King decided upon Pidurangala Rock. The Temple is well worth a visit, as it contains a number of ruins and the “Image House” which is built into a cave that contains two chambers within.
The Inner Chamber contains various Buddha Statues. Ascending to its summit via an ancient stairway and through a small coppice woodland you will enter caves. In ancient times monks meditated in these caves and where a further 48ft (14.6mtrs) length statue of a reclining Buddha is to be found.
It is said that the fair maiden frescoes depicted on Sigiriya rock fortress that face Pidurangala and carrying lotus flowers were for worshipping Lord Buddha at the Pidurangala Temple and Monastery.