The giant rock of Sigiriya, located between the Sri Lankan cities of Dambulla and Haburane, is quietly picturesque in the middle of the central province of the Emerald Isles. What could have easily become an eyesore is now an awe-inspiring building, Radiant in its historical and mythological status. This ancient city of Sigiriya was built with great attention to mathematics and symmetry. As a result, Sigiriya in Sri Lanka It is a magnificent example of ancient urban planning and has also become a World Heritage Site after being considered and declared by UNESCO.
About Sigiriya in Sri Lanka
The history of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka tells that in the 3rd century the astute King Kashyapa realized the ability of the rock to stop unwanted visitors and enemies and hence decided to build his fort there.
The city structure began first and soon became a fort. It was a city that included a citadel, two main palaces (Upper and Lower), gardens, waterways and the famous Mirror Wall as well as a giant lion gateway. In fact, it was the huge lion gate that was built, which gave the rock its nickname – Sinhagiri in Sinhalese, and Singh Chattan in other words. As unfortunate as it is, after the demise of the king, the palace was abandoned until Buddhists came like angels from heaven and took up residence in it by the end of the 14th century, converting it into a monastery.
Place: Central Province, Sri Lanka
opening time: 7 am to 7 pm
entrance fees: INR 2,120
Sigiriya in Sri Lanka map
The legend behind Sigiriya
Something as old as Sigiriya is bound in a web of mythology. Researchers speculate that this ancient rock could be Alakamandava, the ancient city of the gods, built by none other than Kubera, the half brother of the great Ravana! According to legends, the rock was constructed under the auspices of the skilled architect Maya Danava, who worked in compliance with the instructions of Ravana’s father – King Vishtavasa.
Time passed and Sigiriya was once again slowly but surely reclaimed by nature. He covered its glorious Lionsgate with local vegetation and bushes, where after some time only wild animals visited. As coincidence would have it, it was rediscovered by Major Jonathan Forbes of the British Army and thereafter, an archaeological team led by HCP Bell took up the challenge of restoring it to its former glory. Excavations revealed that, unfortunately, the formerly famous lion’s head had fallen victim to the onslaught of time and the vagaries of weathering.
Things to do in Sigiriya in Sri Lanka
Exploring Sigiriya is a day trip for any tourist. There are plenty of things to do around Sigiriya besides climbing up and walking around the rock.
1. Respect the architecture
The city of Sigiriya has established an important milestone in the history of Sri Lanka, not only in terms of urban city planning but also as one of the most mathematically and statistically constructed ancient cities. Despite the passage of several centuries, some of the city’s famous structures, though almost dilapidated, still stand.
The palaces of Sigiriya have a striking similarity with the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, India, in terms of design and paintings, i.e. frescoes. Despite being similar to the Anuradhapura style of painting in many ways, the paintings here were quite unique and different from those in the Ajanta caves. However, time was not able to preserve the excellence of such art and hence many paintings became extinct.
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2. Mirror wall
One wall, so well polished that one could see his clear reflection, was once the king’s favourite. And why wouldn’t that happen? Everyone will probably like the beauty and grandeur of the personality. Unfortunately, time has again shown its ugly side and has taken away most of its grandeur, leaving only a rock. However, knowing that it was something important and significant, the wall is still a hot photo spot and also the most favorite scribble board for tourists.
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3. Fly with the butterflies in the gardens
The Sigiriya Mountains in Sri Lanka are surrounded by vast spaces of centuries-old landscape gardens. During the prosperous days of the city, these gardens were planned accordingly and then divided into water gardens, terraced gardens and boulder and cave gardens.
These gardens are the oldest surviving models of an ancient form of gardening called Char Bagh. The caves and bouldering gardens were often used by the army to drop huge stones and rocks from Mount Sigiriya to keep their enemies at bay.
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4. Visit the Golden Temple in Dambulla
After completing the tour of the fort ruins, one can always visit the Golden Temple in Dambulla which is just 20-25 km from Sigiriya. The Dambulla Cave Temple is said to be the largest and most complex cave temple in all of Sri Lanka. There are about 80 caves throughout the area that have been documented with sculptures and paintings, most of which represent Gautama Buddha while some have been interpreted as those of Lord Vishnu and Ganesha. Near the cave complex, there is a cemetery containing 2700-year-old human skeletons buried there. This brings out the interesting fact that prehistoric Sri Lankans lived in these caves before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
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5. Safari in Minneriya National Park
Just 27-30 km away, is Menaria National Park, home to the world’s largest concentration of Asian elephants. Coming in contact with receding water and evergreen greenery, no one leaves the national park with a broken heart for not being able to see an elephant. Apart from elephants, this national park also has a variety of birds, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles and fishes.
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Weather in Syria
Sigiriya should preferably be visited in winter and by far the best month to visit is February when the weather is pleasant and salubrious. Since it is located in a tropical country located just above the equator, there is heat and humidity throughout the year and the temperature ranges between 28-32 degrees, with a UV index of 11. The best time to climb to the top is either early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is not shining in the sky. Thunderstorm and torrential rain can also occur at any time.
Where to stay in Sirigia?
The best way to book accommodation would be to book online. This will make the entire process of booking a hotel much easier. Although Sri Lanka is not a very expensive country, you will still find great places to stay in Sigiriya Sri Lanka. The only drawback is that after touring the entire place, one wants to go there as soon as possible and relax and does not want to travel in buses and taxis covering huge distances to reach the hotels. However, the choice is yours!
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Visiting such historical places is sometimes like taking a walk in the past. So use the pair of eyes you’ve been blessed with and work on those leg muscles, because there’s plenty of sightseeing and walking to be done on this trip to Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. This will definitely make your trip to Sri Lanka a highly successful one.
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