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Sigiriya

N 757.393', E 8045.596'
2012-01-30
Our rating: 7.20
Overall rating:

Sigiriya ("Lion's Rock") is a 170-meter rock in the center of Sri Lanka, formed from magma of an extinct volcano. The British found it in the middle of the 19th century. A palace was located at the top. But who needed to build a palace in such a place?

Sigiriya rock
Sigiriya rock Yuriy Buriak

King Datusena left the throne to his youngest son Mogallana. The oldest one Kasapa was angry because of that, so he put his brother in prison. Moggallana ran away to South India. Kasapa, knowing that he will have to pay for his actions, decided to hide on the Sigiriya rock and chose it as the place for his palace, where he ruled from 495 to 477. Even before him, from the 5th century BC a monastery of Buddhist monks used to be there. Some findings suggest that there was a settlement 5,000 years ago. After the death of Kasapa monastery was revived again and existed until the 14th century.

In 495, Moggallana returned to Sri Lanka with the army and Kasapa, being confident in his strength, decided to fight him on an open area. But he lost and killed himself. Moggallana destroyed the palace and moved the capital to Anuradhapura.

It's a nice story, but it is difficult to confirm. Scientists believe that it was not possible to create such buildings during the reign of Kasapa. And nobody knows for sure if there was any palace at the top. Recent data suggest that Sigiriya has always been a monastery complex, and a meditation hall used to be at the top. Although I still don't understand why then they built such huge water tanks? I cannot believe that it was many people in the monastery. And the number of buildings at the top tells us that they were royal.

Entrance to the rock passed through a mouth of a lion, which was carved in the rock. But now only the feet left.

Only the feet of a giant lion figure remained.
Only the feet of a giant lion figure remained. Yuriy Buriak

During the ascent you will visit a room with ancient paintings, mostly naked girl dancers. At one time the area was occupied by a huge fresco which was ​​140 meters long and 40 meters high.

Paintings at Sigiriya
Paintings at Sigiriya Yuriy Buriak


Paintings at Sigiriya
Paintings at Sigiriya Yuriy Buriak


Paintings at Sigiriya
Paintings at Sigiriya Yuriy Buriak

You will also walk along the "Mirror Wall". Now this is an ordinary wall, but at the time of Kasapa it was polished to the point that you could see a reflection.

Design for lifting, in the right corner is the part of the
Design for lifting, in the right corner is the part of the "Mirror Wall". Yuriy Buriak

Since at that time there was no technology for drilling through hard rock, the water was collected in tanks at the top of the rock.

Water was collected in tanks at the top.
Water was collected in tanks at the top. Yuriy Buriak

At the foot of the rock huge gardens were created, which have been partly preserved until now. There were fountains in the gardens, one of the first in the world.

Gardens at Sigiriya
Gardens at Sigiriya Yuriy Buriak

You need to come here early, before it becomes too hot, or in the evening to enjoy the beautiful sunset. Don't forget the water! A ticket to Sigiriya is the most expensive in Sri Lanka, $30 (2013).

There are lots of local guides around the rock, we answered to everyone "No, thank you". Don't allow them to follow you and to tell something, otherwise they will ask for money in the end, even if you ignored them :)

Sigiriya rock
Sigiriya rock Yuriy Buriak


Sigiriya rock
Sigiriya rock Yuriy Buriak


View from the Sigiriya rock
View from the Sigiriya rock Yuriy Buriak


Don't make noise and don't touch the bees, and you'll be ok :)
Don't make noise and don't touch the bees, and you'll be ok :) Yuriy Buriak


Don't understand how dogs get here.
Don't understand how dogs get here. Yuriy Buriak


Remains of the palace (monastery?) at the top
Remains of the palace (monastery?) at the top Yuriy Buriak


Monkeys are even at the top.
Monkeys are even at the top. Yuriy Buriak


One of the royal thrones
One of the royal thrones Yuriy Buriak


Going up
Going up Yuriy Buriak


View from the Sigiriya rock
View from the Sigiriya rock Yuriy Buriak


At the top of Sigiriya
At the top of Sigiriya Yuriy Buriak

Map of the region in PDF
Map of Sigiriya

In 1982, the video of Duran Duran, Save a Prayer, was filmed at Sigiriya.

Getting there: Sigiriya is located on the road between Dambulla and Habarana, turn near Inamaluwa. Buses start from Dambulla in the morning every 30 minutes, after lunch every hour. You can take a Tuk Tuk for $5-8. Dambulla can be reached from Colombo main bus station Peta by bus #47.

Tags, Sri Lanka: rocks

Tags, all countries: rocks
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