A couple of years ago I had the chance to explore the island of Sri Lanka — its beaches and sites. Of all the cultural stops I visited, I was struck by the Sigiriya Rock Fortress . Here is a concise intro to this destination.
Sigiriya is an ancient town situated roughly 100 miles (161 km ) northeast of Colombo, which makes the trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Website relatively brief — about three hours by car. The Sigiriya Rock Fortress is an expansive compound that functions as a striking example of historical urban planning. Protective moats gardens , graceful water fittings, structures, and special frescos are only some features of the property. On the other hand, the icing to the cake is the palace in addition to the boulder.
Also check out our article: The Historical Cities of Sri Lanka
The Rock Fortress
Kat Bitha (Mirror Wall)
Buddhist monks initially lived and worshipped from the Sigiriya caves as early as fifth century B.C. Construction of the palace and gardens came considerably later during the rule of King Kassapa that I, King of Ceylon (477 — 495 A.D.) King Kassapa was a ruthless monarch who had his dad, King Dhatusena, killed, along with old brother, Moggallana, overthrown so that he could climb to ultimate power.
Day Trips from Sigiriya
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The parricidal King Kassapa transferred his capital from Anuradhapura in which he assembled an opulent palace beneath a giant 656-foot-high boulder. From there he dominated for almost 11 years he’d cheated from their throne. King Kassapa left behind a tangible legacy; a well known, fashionable, and functional chemical he made for his own enjoyment, and which can be seen and appreciated by people.
A minimum of a full day is required to explore the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It is ideal to head over as early as possible to maximize time and beat the crowds. Be sure to wear sun block, airy clothing, and shoes that are comfy. The Sigiriya Complex requires dozens of stairs and walkways to scale see the palace and to attain the top of Lion Mountain. The website also requires walking throughout the trails which wind through the gardens.
Hours of Operation: Buses run every day from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Admission: 3600 LKR
On the part of the rock, roughly 100 meters from the base, would be this Sigiriya maidens’ fifth century frescos. There are 50 frescos but originally there 250 depicted 500 maidens. This fact was discovered thanks to this graffiti along the kat bitha (mirror wall) describing the scenes. It is unclear whether the king’s daughters or sizeable harem were the areas of these brilliant frescos of bare-breasted ladies, but the fact that they have been widely popular focal points in Sigiriya for centuries would be inarguable (think early Playboy).
The maidens are portrayed wearing bright clothingheaddresses and jewelry, and platters of fruit and floral bouquets. They represent”apsaras” or celestial nymphs, a frequent motif in spiritual and royal art of South Asia. Each maiden has a saying. Traces of plaster and paint indicate that a portion of Lion Mountain’s western façade was adorned with these vibrant, erotic frescos.
The Sigiriya site comprises boulder oldest landscaped water, and terraced gardens on earth. The water fountains comprise dozens of remarkable water fittings designed with performance and beauty in mind. Like the washing pools of Anuradhapura’s Abayagiri Vihara monastery, every pool in Sigiriya has its purpose is representative of the time’s creativity and mastery. Upon entering through the elaborate western entrance, also known as the”royals’ entrance,” visitors will come across the inner moat. It was used as a barrier against invasions. Beneath the delicate lotuses swam dozens of crocodiles, only if an attacker attempted to swim across…
On the best of this entrance south of the inner moat, is a set of shallow square pools purposed for aesthetic allure, the miniature water garden. The calming sounds of water glow one garden experience. The bathing pools that are massive are only as romantic. There is A third water garden situated on a degree that was higher. It retains an octagonal washing machine full with a trickle ledge attribute, which has been the opulent design element for the time. It isn’t difficult to envision that the splendor that once was the water fountains of Sigiriya while touring this imaginative complex. The pools’ positions were planned with precision in a symmetrical layout that is both pleasing to the eye and functional. They have been built with clay, brick, granite, and marble, and also include drainage and pump systems.
The bathing pools are a royal item of work for a king along with his harem. The boulder garden features pathways which weave in and out of large cracks and enormous stone that is organic. Before and following the age of King Kassapa, Buddhist monks employed Sigiriya as a rather complex prior to the fourteenth century. The boulder garden features original constructions in the fifth century B.C. Mothers in addition to additions made by the monks that lived there throughout the post-Kassapan era. The patio gardens are an assortment of wall gardens after the slope of this landscape. They lead to Lion Gate in the base of Lion Mountain. Southwest in the base of a rock that resembles a mind, of the rock fortress, is the Cobra Hood Cave. Cobra Hood Cave has millennia-old paintings on, After part of this Sigiriya monastery.
King Kassapa was mirror wall, or the kat bitha, designed to match his tastes that are decadent. The gallery’s wall is constructed from brick, with a reflective coat of egg white ceramic and wash. Many believe that this reflective surface was developed to help as he passed through the king see his expression.
Remarkably, thousands of years after, that the wall has kept its sheen. Perhaps equally as renowned as the mirror wall, is that the ancient graffiti scribbled onto it. There are over 1,000 poems, announcements, and messages on the mirror wall, with some. The graffiti indicates that individuals have been seeing the Sigiriya complicated. Examples include poetry about the landscape and remarks about the maidens portrayed in the frescos.
After researching caves Sigiriya’s intricate gardens, and mirror wall, people will eventually arrived in the Lion Mountain platform — a stairway flanked by a pair of ominous clawed lion paws.
The Sinhalese conceptualized the lion as a symbol of strength and power, as is the case for other cultures around the planet. The stairway led royals but this Sigiriya lion’s paws would be. Beyond the talons, traffic climb the endless measures which ascend Lion Mountain.
You may get to the summit of Sigiriya rock after conquering the spiral staircases steps, and yards of garden. Once on top, unwind and enjoy the unmatched panoramic views while snapping pictures of yourself in the 1,200th step! Here stood the royal complicated, complete with bathing pools (yes, you can find far more ), royal chambers, and throne. Once you reach the top you may understand why Sigiriya is frequently referred known as the”palace in the sky.”
Afterwards, all customers are encouraged to delight in study center, and the Sigiriya Museum, that houses a customer’s information center, onsite conservation lab. The Japanese authorities gifted the museum to help people understand historical Sigiriya’s importance.
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Dambulla is a scenic town situated 91 miles (148 km ) northeast of Colombo and 12 miles (20 km ) southwest of Sigiriya. The town’s main attraction is that the Dambulla Cave Temple, or”Golden Temple.” There are temples throughout Sri Lanka, however, the temple complex in Dambulla is the best preserved in the nation, which made it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Since the next century B.C., Buddhist monks have used the Dambulla caves for worship, but those cavernous dwellings also provided refuge for King Valagamba throughout his exile. King Valagamba was the rightful king of Anuradhapura, but had been forced to hide out from Dambulla later being overthrown by invaders from Southern India. He eventually regained the throne in 89 B.C. and commissioned the construction of this Abhayagiri Vihara Buddhist Monastery in Anuradhapura. Stupa, or the monastery’s unique dagoba, can nevertheless be seen today. A stupa is a Buddhist structure that represents the path along with the Buddha to enlightenment. Dambulla is home to the International Cricket Stadium. Dambulla’s cricket stadium has hosted international cricket games since opening in 2001 and was built in only 167 times.
The Dambulla Cave Temple is really a system of caves comprised of five intact cave shrines that contain figurines, murals, along with other spiritual works of art dating between the first century B.C. and 1250 A.D. Visitors will first experience Devaraja Lena, or Cave of those Diving King. It comes with a 14-meter-long statue of the sleeping Buddha carved from solid rock. At his mind rests in, and the god Vishnu a part of his student, his toes ,. A Brahmi inscription over the cave entrance supplies an account of the foundation of this monastery.
With a height of seven meters, the Cave of Maharaja Lena, or the Great King, is the Greatest in the Complicated.
It houses 56 figurines of the Buddha, figurines of 2 Sinhalese kings, along with ceiling murals depicting scenes. Is Maha Alut Viharaya, or even the New Great. It includes 50 statues of the Buddha and is adorned in traditional Kandyan design.
Paschima Viharaya, the cave, is bigger than the others and has a dagoda in its center. The last and fifth cave, also called the Second New Temple, or Devana Alut Viharaya, is the newest cave from the complicated. It comprises images of Hindu deities and a Buddha. Just like all other spiritual websites in Sri Lanka, guests would be to dress. No hats, sleeveless tops, or shorts. Shoes must be removed prior to entering.
Hours of Operation: Daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission: 1500 LKR
The historic town of Polonnaruwa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated about 17 miles (27 km ) in Sigiriya. Together with Sigiriya and Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa creates part of Sri Lanka’s”cultural triangle.” Polonnaruwa’s historical city is approximately two square miles of ruins dating back to the initial and 12th centuries, together with some dating back even earlier. Touring the ruins of Polonnaruwa will show Sinhalese society and Buddhist tradition’s period in Ceylon. Control of Polonnaruwa, Ceylon’s next most historical kingdom, altered when King Vijayabahu I defeated the Cholas, Hindu invaders from India, in 1070 A.D.. The king’s grandson Parakramabahu I is credited with spearheading Polonnaruwa into its golden age during the 12th century.
Beneath King Parakramabahu, Polonnaruwa became a metropolitan wonder with irrigation methods a lot more sophisticated than those in Anuradhapura. Lake Parakrama, also called the”Sea of Parakrama,” is a prime minister of a successful historical water conservation endeavor. Lake Parakrama is a huge man-made reservoir having an area of 14 square miles, or 22.6 square km. It is found west of this city. King Parakramabahu certainly set the benchmark for his successor, King Nissamkamalla. Polonnaruwa eventually grew in size and wealth in the subsequent years. By 1196, the Polonnaruwa was adorned with enormous rock sculptures, royal palaces, stupas, and gardens.
A minimum of a full day is required to observe the Polonnaruwa ruins, particularly in the event that you plan to tour the region on foot. A lot of visitors decide instead to lease cycles (200 to 250 LKR( or approximately $2 every day) from local guesthouses. This is an affordable and easy way to maximize on time mainly because the trails are clearly tagged and operate from north to south in the following directions. Tickets are sold in the Polonnaruwa Museum. Every ticket is valid for one day and a different ticket has to be purchased the following day, to return. It is sensible to dress comfortably, bring a coat, and get an early start to avoid the heat.
After purchasing tickets in the Polonnaruwa Museum, make sure you find a map in the information center. Stick to the trails to pay a stop by to King Parakramabahu’s royal palace, council chamber, and elaborate bath. Afterwards, make your way to the monuments, shrines, stupa, shield stones, as well as also the famed moonstone, Vatadage, constructed with King Vijayabahu I in the 11th century. The northernmost region of the city features Polonnaruwa’s biggest monumentsbeneath the Rankot Vihara stupa, the four large carved statues of the Buddha in Gal Vihara, along with also the colossal (headless) statue of Buddha in the Lankatilaka shrine. We recommend hiring a guide in the entrance to show you around the website. A tour of this town will put you back roughly 2800 — about the same, 3000 LKR .
Hours of Operation: Daily from 7 a.m. to 6 Pm
Admission: 2800 LKR
Matale is situated about 33 miles (54 km ) south of Sigiriya, or about 45 minutes by car along the Kandy-Jaffna Highway. Located in the hill country of Sri Lanka, an agricultural region that produces vegetables and spices, lies the small town of Matale . British occupation had spread from the mid-nineteenth century during Sri Lanka. The British controlled the Kandyan provinces until the course of history changed for Sri Lanka.
On July 26th 1848, Puran Appu and Gongalegoda Banda led a peasant revolt against the colonists that had disenfranchised their inhabitants for way too long. Before this month, then the British had imposed heavy taxes, forced peasants to boost coffee crops for export to Britain, also sent in laborers in India (Tamils) to perform the work for much less pay. To this very day, both Banda and Appu are regarded as national heroes for willpower and their bravery. Their attempts marked the start of Sri Lanka struggle for independence.
Besides its historical importance, Matale is home to the Aluvihara Cave Monastery. Like the seas in Dambulla, the Matale shrines house vibrant depictions of the Buddha, using the most striking being the 10-meter extended reclining Buddha statue. Ominous multihued paintings on the walls reveal demons penalizing and torturing people for their own sins. On the next level there’s a cave dedicated to Buddhaghosa, the guy who most Buddhists think composed down the Pali Canon, or”Tipitaka”, on palm leaves. The Pali Canon is a early collection of Theravada Buddhist scriptures that clarifies rules for monks and nuns, Buddha’s teachings, and philosophies about the nature of the brain, time, and matter. The Aluvihara Cave Monastery is open every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is 100 LKR.
The Sri Muththumari Hindu Temple is Located in Matale.
The outside of the structure that is unique and flamboyant features dozens of Hindu deities, along with carved creatures, gods. Upon entering, you will encounter dozens of sculptures of animated frescos and deities. Worshippers make offerings of fruits and flowers. Tamils are people of Indian descent who have been attracted to Ceylon (mainly from the British) throughout the 19th and 20th centuries as agricultural laborers. The Tamil people erected Hindu temples in Matale such as the one.
There is A beige garden tour a must-do while visiting Matale. The Ranweli Spice Garden provides quick guided tours via a garden to view several plant species such as pepper, red chocolate, and vanilla. Visitors will learn about their uses in the worlds of cosmetics, cooking and medicine. Visitors are encouraged to go to the shop with additives, powders, and various well-priced spices When the tour finishes. The Ranweli Exotic Garden is open every day from 8 pm to five p.m. Tours are complimentary.
Sigiriya is a fun place with a vibrant history. It is amazing to think the way the early society produced these lovely examples of mastery. It is necessary to be aware that the water garden will not be watery. Since they function together with the arrival of rain, they stay dry through the summertime.
Much like Dambulla and Polonnaruwa, researching Sigiriya demands a tolerance for temperatures, in addition to climbing , walking. That is why it is ideal to come in the morning, wear clothes, and stay fit! The trek is well worth it once you reach the top of Lion Mountain and take in the view that is extraordinary. On the way, juice sellers may be found by you, snake charmers, and reptiles to entertain you when you go. You may need an excess half or full day in Polonnaruwa to explore the city there while only 1 day is required in Dambulla, Matale and Sigiriya. The Sri Muththumari Hindu Temple in Matale resembles no other I have observed.
The figures on the temple’s outside are equally all mysterious and lovely. When you finish there, don’t skip a spice garden tour. Aside from the one there are numerous areas offering services. Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura include the”cultural triangle” of Sri Lanka. Each has its own charms, however Sigiriya is different; a true testament to a man’s love of lavishness of power and pursuit.
Time zone: GMT +5:30 hours (Indian Standard Time)
Capital city: Colombo
Languages spoken: Sinhalese, Tamalese along with English
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Currency converter: www.xe.com
Getting about: When traveling between towns, buses and trains are greatest. Buses may be crowded and are. Though trains are slower and may be cramped as well, they often considered the more comfortable mode of transportation. When in town, tuk-tuks, buses, taxis, and, in many cases, just walking, are all viable forms of transportation. Sometimes, automobiles and drivers may be hired for a single day or bikes may be rented.
Shopping: You can find a small number of craft shops along the road from Habarana to Sigiriya selling handmade masks, furniture, and other decorative items.
Tipping policy: Service fees, normally 10 percent, are included at most restaurants. Drivers and guides may expect tips. A suggestion of 50 LKR is suitable for hotel doormen and also the people who collect guests’ shoes.
Electricity: There are two types of sockets, the Form D Indian 5 amp BS-546 along with the European CEE 7/16 Europlug.
Best time to visit Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons, which means that your trip does need some pre-planning. The dry season in the south western region of the country is between March and December. The dry season from the northern and southern portions of the nation proceeds from May to September. Across the nation , intermittent rains occur between November and October. December through March is the most popular and also also the time.
Special thanks to Sri Lanka Tourism.
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