Sigiriya!

The “8th world wonder” according to the locals, and a UNESCO World Heritage.

Surrounded by lush green forest, this lump of rock somehow caught attention of the rouge king Kashyap, who decided to build his fortress on top it. I don’t know how all the people went to and fro this 200 meters high massive column of rock every day. For me, climbing once was enough for a lifetime.

I reached the entrance at around 4 PM keeping in mind to catch the sunset from the top, got a guide (didn’t want to roam here and there as day was close to end and I had to return to Kandy), purchased my tickets, and headed towards the entrance.

Tip: use the loo before you punch your tickets and thank me later. There is a new washroom complex about 100 feet before the moat. Once you cross the moat, there is no choice but to hold it inside.

moat

I visited Sri Lanka in a difficult time, when corona virus has started to spread like anything. There were hardly any visitors in the famous site. I could see no one in the long pathway from the entrance to the climbing steps.

I thanked again myself for getting a guide, who explained me the historical significance of the place and showed me around in a very short period of time.

After the long pathway, the scary part began: STAIRS. And 1200 of it was no joke. My guide (sorry I forgot your name) tried his best to keep me enthusiastic by taking short breaks when he continued his speech. He explained how the base was made with bricks, the places where the king sat and enjoyed the dance show. The places where there used to be frescos but were later destroyed.

climb

After climb and climb, I reached a very interesting small cave. This is possibly the only place in Sigiriya where some frescos were still present. A guard makes sure no one gets to take picture of those.

It was a spiral stair climb to and from the frescos. After climbing down, my guide showed me a mirror wall. The wall used to be so polished that people could see their faces. After hundreds of years, it has lost its glory, but it is still shiny enough to demonstrate it proud past.

mirror wall

Possibly the most photographed place of Sigiriya is the lion claws. This is where the stone stair amidst forest ends and the bare stairs starts. The claws used to represent the huge lion structures above.

lion claws

Climbing the stairs from here was the most difficult part. Energy was already drained after climbing this far. But what was scary is that the stair are kind of hanging from the rock, and at places, I could see the green forest two hundred meter directly below my feet. I saw a lot of people giving up at this step. But I continued.

From the steps, I could see Pidurangala rock, from where travelers take photos of Sigiriya. Right that moment, someone might have taken a photo in which I appear as a tiny dot. Who knows 🙂

After climbing for several minutes more, finally it happened!

top

I climbed the summit!

But wait. I admit, I was really not very impressed by the top of it. Yes, the climb was a challenge, and completing it was very satisfactory. But the top of it is nothing like a “climax”. It is rather a flat land with nothing much interesting. I roamed for a few minutes and then started my descend.

sun set

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