This marks the first of Sri Lankan Travel Diaries and is going to be all about Sigiriya – one of my Sri Lankan holiday highlights! Sigiriya or Lion rock is sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World and when you see it you understand why. It’s a massive column of rock, nearly 200 meters tall which once upon a time had a palace built on top of it. Once the King who commissioned it died, it turned became a Buddhist monastery. This lasted until the 14th century and now Sigiriya is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and one of the most visited historic sites in Sri Lanka.
However Sigiriya consists of more than just the rock and the remnants of a palace. There are various types of gardens, mirrored walls, massive carved lion paws, and 18 frescos which have survived since the 5th century. The 5th century! However, more than this, what really excited me was the chance to climb to the very top and see all of Sri Lanka from there.
Sigiriya is extremely tourist friendly. I would recommend that you have a certain level of fitness as there are stairs everywhere but there are people to help you to climb up or down if you are having problems. Neither Sister nor I had to take advantage of this but even then they were very helpful in making sure we headed the right way, taking photos for us, and at one point helping me to chase my hat when it blew off my head!
Apart from the view at the top of Sigiriya, it was the carved lion paws which took my breath away. They were beautiful and majestic and I could imagine how the palace at the top would have once looked.
I have no idea who the man is!
Once we reached the top everything became about the view. As we were taking photos and just being in awe of it all an employee came up to us and showed us the highest point of Sigiriya. Of course I had to jump of it!
That ladies and gentleman is back sweat!
Sigiriya makes up part of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and cost us around 3000 LKR which was about $25-$30. If you are planning on going then my advice is to get there early as it is very popular and the staircase narrow. Once it is full of people it is very hard to overtake and climbing can become a very slow process. We were climbing by 8am and it was almost the perfect time – I think we both would have preferred a little earlier but there were few enough people to climbs almost the whole way at the speed we wanted rather than having it dictated by someone else.
You can see from this (sadly blurry) photo what the traffic was like that early in the morning at the beginning of the climb.
Dambulla is another stop on the cultural triangle and it was where we headed next!