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Why You Must Visit Sigiriya at Least Once in Your Lifetime

The Awe-Inspiring Beauty of Sigiriya Unveiled!

By Ama WijeratnePublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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Why You Must Visit Sigiriya at Least Once in Your Lifetime
Photo by Dylan Shaw on Unsplash

Sri Lanka, exuding magical beauty with its cultural and historical attractions, is among the top travel destinations in the world. One of the most talked about attractions on the island is the curiosity-inducing Sigiriya, also known as the Lion’s Rock. It’s a fortress that lifts the curtains to an ancient world now lost. With incredible architectural ingenuity and the pull of historical and cultural significance, Sigiriya invites you to peruse the pages of Sri Lanka’s history book.

It’s a Historical and Cultural Icon

The Lion’s Rock brings forth an incredible past that goes back to the 5th century AD. It was the royal digs for King Kashyapa, who was a Sri Lankan king with a divisive backstory – a towering rock, rising 200 metres above the earth is where he felt right to build his castle. Was it a defence mechanism? Was he worried his past would catch up with him? Well, no one really knows. But whatever it was, the fruit of his fear or ambition was an architectural marvel that stands to this day.

It’s a place of art, nature, and ancient architecture. The king fashioned a breathtaking royal retreat out of a rock. It was complete with stunning frescoes, lush gardens, and intricate water systems. The initial allure of this rock fortress is now lost to the whims of time – but there are traces of its past magnificence for all to see.

Climbing the Rock

To reach the top of Sigiriya, it might take you about 30 minutes. But unless you’re in a hurry, you should take your time and enjoy the hike; there’s so much to see and enjoy. You’ll be meandering through ancient terraced gardens, peeking into cave temples, and marvelling at shrines to balance on boulders, which could seem quite impossible at first glance.

The frescoes are another thing to marvel at. They’re carved right into the rock face and date back to the 5th century. These are vibrant paintings of women, a tribute to female beauty. They’re shrouded in mystery, and the inspiration behind them remains a mystery.

The Mirror Wall is another interesting detail of the fortress. It’s incredibly glossy and was used by the king as a mirror. Over time, it became a canvas for ancient graffiti artists in the 8th and 9th centuries.

There’s a well-kept staircase, so the climb is pretty straightforward. But be aware of the twists and turns – some parts hug the rock’s edge with quite the drop below.

The commute to Sigiriya is quite easy too, depending on where you stay. If you’ve chosen one of the hotels near Dambulla, Sri Lanka, you could get here within 30 minutes or so. From Habarana Village By Cinnamon, for instance, it takes about 25 minutes to get here.

Waters Gardens and the Museum

Even if scaling heights isn’t exactly your thing, there’s plenty to do at ground level. Most visitors make a beeline for the summit, and they miss out on the treasures at the base. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, as it leaves ancient gardens and temples in a peaceful hush – the perfect setup for someone who doesn’t like crowds. These gardens aren’t mere gardens that offer you a place to relax; they’re considered among the world’s earliest landscaped gardens. The gardens are adorned with geometric pools that were once the backdrop for summer palaces.

The base is also home to the Sigiriya Museum. It houses a collection of discoveries. Here, you can get up close with sculptures, jewels, and tools unearthed over the years. If you have a fear of heights, you might understandably want to stay safely at the lower level. However, you don’t have to miss out on the remarkable allure of the magnificent fortress – the museum offers a video tour that brings stunning views from the top right to you.

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