Sigiriya : the rock fortress and Sri Lankans’ 8th wonder of the world…

Sigiriya is one of those places we Sri Lankans are so proud of. It’s like the Taj Mahal to the Indians, Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Italians or the Eifel Tower to the French.

So on the second day of our road trip we paid a little visit there. I have been to Sigiriya once when I was a kid but never climbed all the way to the top. Sadly this time we only had couple of hours so missed out on that opportunity again. Next time, I am going to climb all those stairs, and going to be on top of that rock smiling down and taking lots of pictures. 🙂

Basically Sigiriya is the site of a massive rock that was turned into a fortress by King Kashyapa. He built his castle on the rock itself with elaborated construction on the rock summit including defensive structures, palaces, gardens and ponds.

For me it is unimaginable to think people without any sort of technological assistant managed to build such architecture 200m above ground. I really feel sorry for the people who had to carry materials up to the top!

However after the death of the King, the fortress was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Today Sigiriya is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning and is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya, the rock fortress

The entrance to the site is through a thick forest and beyond the historic site is protected by a moat and sorrounded by gardens. These gardens are among some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.

Entrance to the historic site

Sigiriya water gardens

Sigiriya water gardens

Sigiriya terraced gardens

Archaeological remains

Sigiriya Archaeological remains

Sigiriya, the rock fortress

These next few photos are just to give an idea how big the fortress is. If you can find people and compare the size of them to the rock you will see what I meant by unimaginable construction.

Sigiriya rock

climbing sigiriya

climbing sigiriya

sigiriya

With the thick vegetation on either side of the walkway comes monkeys. 🙂 They are as part of sigiriya as the archaelogical sites and mostly harmless. When we were there, we saw a couple of tourists walking with a small bag in hand. All of a sudden one monkey charged in and grabbed the bag from the lady’s hand and went to his tree. To see the bag had bananas in it. I am sure it was scary for the lady but hilarious to watch as the monkey sat on his tree peeling and eating bananas while trying to protect it from the rest of the gang.

monkeysDSC_6537

Ok so I wanted to give an idea on what’s on top and why I am excited about this place. Thanks to google and some other great photographers I found a few photos to show how amazing the art and architecture is. 🙂

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