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For the second of our excursions, we visited the incredible sight that is Sigiriya. The formation itself is a huge volcanic plug of a long gone volcano. We were told about the King, Kasyapa (477 – 495 AD). Apparently the prince, jealous of his father’s power, plotted and murdered his father. However, he became frightened that his brother would seek revenge and retreated to the top of this formation to build his fortress. Much of the ruin is still there, both at the base and further up.

I could tell you all about the place but in truth I think the photographs give you a much better feel for the place.

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The water gardens
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Can you see the elephant’s head?

Sprawled around the base of the formation are the gardens, with much of the original architecture still in place.

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At the first balcony, you are treated to the beginning of the stunning views, but brave it up this spiral staircase and you will be in for a treat.

Frescos from the time of the ancient city adorn cave walls. They are thought to be from the  Anuradhapura period, yet the style of painting is unique. Flash photography is not allowed to protect them from light damage so my blurred and dark photos don’t come close to doing these justice. They are a beautiful sight.

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Carry on climbing and you will reach the true entrance to the palace: the Lion staircase.  Once upon a time a huge Lion’s head was built over the steps with the entrance through his jaws. Now, all that’s left are his two front paws. Our guide showed us a drawing of what the original would have looked like.

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Many people ended their climb here. In the midday sun, the last push to the top can be a bit daunting and added to this is the fact it must be done quietly, for nested all around on the rock face are hornets and above this balcony, there is no protection from attacks. As scary as I may make that sound, I am pleased to report we came to no injury on our climb. I don’t think the risk is really too great.

And at the top, you are treated to an incredible sight. More ruins and the vast expanses of rolling country on all sides. Sit down, have a drink of water, you’ve made it. And, if you have the energy left, you can climb what is left of the staircase that was build between the two floors of the two storey palace. Bring the total to 2002.

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IMG_0879If you want more info on the place, check out this site!

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One thought on “Sri Lanka travels: Sigiriya

  1. What a great place to visit and the view from the top !!! The surroundings are so green, I expected Sri Lanka to be a lot drier. I obviously don’t know much about the country, haha.

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