The great lion rock is a magnificent piece of architecture dating back all the way to the 5th century B.C. This impregnable fortress of pure stone was the handiwork of King Kashyapa, who built this to escape his brother who was bent on avenging their father. Historians tell us that after murdering their father, King Kashyapa fled and ended up at the foot of this rock, which he later made his home.
Visiting this architectural marvel alone is a good enough reason to visit the island nation of Sri Lanka. Many are astounded by how Sigiriya was a way ahead of its time in terms of the technology used to craft it as well as the facilities that the fortress possessed.
The climb to the top of Sigiriya can be a challenging one to some. The 1200 steps cut into rock are made for smaller feet. Though the number of steps is high, it’s not all bad. There are many platforms and flat areas that you come to before ascending each flight of steps. Before the actual climb, you can appreciate the beautifully planned and landscaped rock gardens and various outer and inner ponds and moats around the outer areas of the fortress. Legend says that the king used to have crocodiles swimming in the outer moats for any unexpected visitors. Archeologists have only excavated and gone into deep examination of only one side of the entire outer garden as they would like to preserve the other side for future generations.
When attempting to climb Sigiriya, it would always be better to go up with a guide. These guides are freely available at the foot of the rock, waiting for travellers to employ them and hear the many stories and pieces of history that they have to share. Staying well hydrated and climbing with a crowd helps ease the tension and tiredness of the actual climb.
Before getting right to the top, you meet the famous mirror wall. Though not actually made of glass, experts tell us that in the days of its prime, the lime covered wall shone brightly. Travellers and poets alike used to serenade this wall with little snippets of themselves. Unfortunately, this habit has been long abandoned and the wall is strictly preserved for future generations.
The Sigiriya frescoes are another significant area you run into before you reach the top. The frescoes depict tastefully drawn images of topless women, so referred to as “Sigiri Apsarawan”. Scholars still argue as to who these women really were. Some say they were the many concubines of the late king, while others say they were goddesses and angels or even the women of the court.
When you finally reach the top, you are rewarded with a magnificent 360-degree view of the surrounding acres and acres that stretch in all directions. The throne room in the middle of a once great hall makes us imagine the king ruling over such a vast and beautiful kingdom.