Sri Lanka: Climbing the lion rock, Sigiriya

By Cubie - October 30, 2016

View from tuk-tuk on the way to Sigiriya
We took the easy way to Sigiriya and Dambulla - we got ourselves a tuk-tuk for the day. The harder way was to navigate the public bus system which involved some bus changes and walking or still haggling for a tuk-tuk to get to our destination. The B&B organised a tuk-tuk to pick us up from the B&B, sent us to Sigiriya, lunch then onwards to Dambulla, and back to the B&B (cost LKR 4,000 for 2 pax).

Sigiriya is a temporary capital from 477-495 CE when Sri Lanka was under the rule of King Kashyapa. Long, long time ago, Sri Lanka was ruled by a king named King Dhatusena. King Dhatusena has many sons but the one of his illegimate sons, Kashyapa (who was not in line) really wanted the throne.

Kashyapa de-throned his father and his brother Moggallana (who was next in line) fled to Southern India. After that, he crowned himself king in 477 CE. Probably driven by fear, the new King Kashyapa moved his royal seat to Sigiriya due to it's strategic geographical elevated position. The rock earned its name from the enormous lion which greeted visitor halfway up the rock. The crown jewel of Sigiriya today is the king's palace complex at the summit of the rock.

About 18 years later, the rightly heir, Moggallana returned and later defeated Kashyapa. Upon his defeat, Kashyapa slashed his own throat and collapsed dead. After the battle King Moggallana moved the capital back to its historic seat in Anuradhapura.

I won't beat around the bush, Sigiriya is expensive. The entrance fee cost LKR 4,260 pp (~AUD 38/~USD 29). There's option of seeing Sigiriya from another rock, Pidurangala Rock which is a small fraction of Sigiriya's entrance fee at LKR 500. We didn't do Pidurangala Rock but many people we met along the way did and sang praises of it. Sigiriya is expensive but I don't regret picking it over Pidurangala Rock.

There was a warning notice at the ticketing booth on bees but we didn't encounter any, thankfully.

Aside from a notice, the nicer bits was this nice pond with lotus flowers near the ticketing booth. After we got the tickets, up we went.

Sri Lanka is hot, so visit Sigiriya early in the morning though once you are up the top, it gets windy so it was at least comfortable. The climb wasn't as strenuous as I thought it would be, maybe because there were quite a bit of people and we were going in one line. Also, of course, the old empire is now in ruins but the view at the top is pretty amazing. So here goes. :)



Side note: Ugh.. back to work tomorrow...

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