The ancient city of Sigiriya has been one of the world cultural heritage sites since 1982. It is 90 km from Kandy to Sigiriya through Jaffna Highway. There is a rock in this place, which is more than 250 m high. It is said that in A.D. 477 – 495, King Kasyapa built a royal residence on top of this rock and ruled from there. Whatever the story is, the ruins of the palace on the rock and the resplendent garden make the scenery a ravishing one.
From in front of the lavish garden itself, we can see the high rock and the serpentine way leading to the rock far away. The system of irrigation used here is far superior to the modern systems of irrigation. The frescoes and the ruins of the royal residence are things that one should not miss on a visit to this place. The guide told me that there are 1300 to 1400 steps for climbing and descending the rock.
It is better to climb the rock early in the morning because sunlight makes one tired to climb. There is a moat where the garden ends. After crossing the moat, there is a long pathway. On both sides of the path, there are ruins of pools and other constructions. There are reservoirs in the gardens that are filled by rainwater falling on the rocks and the palace on the top, through small conduits cut on the rocks.
View From The Top Of The Rock
On the right side of the path, there is a structure made of stone with 5 holes and on the left side, there are 9 holes. During rainy season, rainwater from the top flows through these and a pretty fountain is formed. I was wonderstruck when the guide told me that this was built 1500 years ago.
Pool On Rock
It is Jonathan, a British man, who discovered this place inside the forest. Later, with the help of UNESCO, the Sri Lankan Government brought this place into light. After walking a short distance, I saw a small cave and faded frescoes in it. The way up has steps and is surrounded by rocks. As I went up, I saw a polished wall called Mirror Wall. It is said that earlier, one could see his face on the mirror. Now, since people started writing on the wall, it has become disfigured.
The gateway to the palace has been built in the shape of an enormous lion carved out of a single rock. Though the lion’s face is not there at present, its legs and nails can be seen clearly. Entering through the mouth of the lion is a bit difficult. There are steps but their steepness and the rush make it difficult to climb inside the palace. There are several security guards; if someone is feeling difficulty in climbing, these guards will take them down. I suggest that climbing up should be done in a slow pace as oxygen level decreases as one climbs up. The palace is situated on the rock summit.
Place Where King Used To Communicate With People
The scenery from here is something that can never be forgotten. Far away, a statue of Buddha can be seen. As we look down from the top, we can see the path we came through and people looking like ants. On top of the granite peak, there are 3 pools with plenty of water in them; they look like pools dug in the sky. The summit of the rock is having a radius of more than 1.5 hectares. The palaces and related building complexes are all in ruins and only the foundation can be seen. I strolled around the place for more than half an hour and then started climbing down.
Room Carved Out Of Rock
After coming down the lion’s mouth, instead of going through the same way, there is another way down. As I was going back, I reached a place surrounded by stones, where there was a huge rock and a flight of steps carved out of the rock. It is on top of this rock that the king used to communicate with people. Near this, there is a small impressive hall where the king used to take rest. The chairs and other things are all carved out of rock. All the structures here have been carved out of rock. Another important sight is a cistern cut into another huge rock. Below this, there is a large room and a chair and a cot carved out of rock. At a short distance, there is the Cobra Rock on which the hood of a snake is beautifully created.
Next is the Prison Rock; a small room below a huge flat rock, having only the height of a person standing in a bent position, cut out of a rock. The bars of the prison are also made out of rock. I had no idea how to enter the room. As time went on, I decided to return. I left behind Sigiriya Rock that represents a great culture that will never fade away.