Iron Wood Forest and the Pidurangala Rock
A carpet of aromatic white na flowers (na mal) during May-June is the Iron Wood Forest (Na Mal Uyana), approx. 30 km from Sigiriya, via Dambulla and Madatugama, is declared as a National Protected Forest in 2005. This is the largest natural Pink Quartz deposit with seven mountains, in hues of white, rose and violet nearly around 3,000 acres that date more than 550 million years. In 2001, prehistoric tree fossils were found preserved in quartz deposits. Natural marble from these mountains is believed to have been used by Emperor Shah Jahan in Taj Mahal in the 17th century!
This 260 acres of dense forest is a treasure trove with over 80 varieties of medicinal plants, over 100 varieties of trees, shrubs and other flora. Forest has been proclaimed as a place of human sanctuary by King Dappula IV (924 AD), where nor even king’s army could capture or harm as per a stone inscription. A walk to the summit takes you through a once forest monastery in ruins, spotting some of the birds with more than 60 species and insects, an ancient stone water container with pure water, the stream where minerals in the water that made the color of rock bronze and creeps like giant wicks. All are nature’s wonders which rejuvenate your soul!
Rock Hiking in Pidurangala, in native speak a stone throw away not more than 2km, is more of a natural atmosphere. A popular spot for sunrise and 360-degree views of the valleys and the neighboring Sigiriya Rock. The Royal Cave Temple and a massive reclining Buddha redone with bricks are survived.