Sigiriya has been in my mind since the first time I saw it from a postcard brought by my sister from Sri Lanka. Few years ago, I never thought that I finally able to step on it’s rock and climb it to the top. Whooo! Such a good feeling for me!
Finally I am here!!! *dancing*
After our visited to Polonnaruwa, we went to Sigiriya directly by a tuk-tuk driver. Since we haven’t booked any place yet, he invited us to stay in his uncle guesthouse. We paid around 2000 rupees for one night. Actually, the place is fine, only far away from the town and I don’t want to recommend it to you since the driver turned to be an annoying person for us.
One thing that made me feel a bit uncomfortable with my trip in Sri Lanka is how guys there tend to be so aggressive and how they are not really genuine to help you. In the end, they want your money as much as they can get. That was what I feel when he keep offer us so many stuff. Later on, because in the beginning we kind of trust him so we don’t really make a deal about the price, he charged us more money than we agreed previously. I hardly suggest you to make an agreement in the beginning about the price of tuk-tuk usage and which places you want to visit with the tuk-tuk service, clearly.
Anyway, there was no excuse to not keep enjoying the rest of the trip. This time, we wanted to visit Sigiriya, which is a destination that I already looked forward. We went in the morning, after eat our breakfast, a traditional food of Sri Lankan. String hoppers, tea with milk and banana! The taste is good, I like it.
Sigiriya Rock itself not so far from our guesthouse, by tuk-tuk it’s only 10 minutes or less. Arrived in Sigiriya, I can see there were so many tourist visit the place. I was confused before about what is the proper wardrobe to visit Sigiriya Rock – because I heard, we need to hike to the top, so pants can be a good idea even I like to wear skirt when visiting temple. It’s more modest for me. But don’t worry, I saw many women wear skirt (short and long) and dress too. Only you really need to be extra careful because it is so windy especially on the top!
Sigiriya is far more expensive than Polonnaruwa. It costs USD 30 (3900 rupees) to enter the site. Same visit hours as in Polonnaruwa ; 7 am – 5.30 pm. You will get one cd about Sigiriya from ticket counter – check it whether it’s dirty or not, or is it broken or not? It’s a good cd and you will love to see it later at home and get a clear view about how Sigiriya looks like.
In first entrance of the area, you will see lots of pond which now already in total dry and some in broken condition. It used to be a beautiful water pond for the palace. I heard from the tuk-tuk driver, once there is a city and traditional market around the pond. Now, all those old bricks become a witness for history of people used to live in Sigiriya.
Climbing to the top
When going up and going down, you will use a circle stairs. I was wondering whether the ladder able to accommodate loads of all those who passed. Even it’s made from iron and I can see they put some buffers in the rock, but still, I feel a bit nervous, worry something bad can happened. But the ladder seems solid and strong enough. Nothing happened. The trekking itself, taking not so much hard work. It’s only around 1 hour to go up, going down was faster. I even see some parents bring their child to the top. Later on, I know it’s because they respect King Kasyapa and wish their children will have positive sides from the King which is visionary and great king at his time.
Sigiriya called as Lion Rock. That’s explain why in the middle of the rock, you will see a gate with lion paws craving as the entrance to the top of the rock. It was used to be a palace for King Kasyapa. And only King and his wife that able to go to the top of the rock or Sky Palace. The story of Sigiriya is the tale of King Kasyapa, a troubled but visionary King Kasyapa who murdered his father by plastering him up in a wall. Tormented by guilt and fear, he abandoned his capital of Anuradhapura and run to the forest – where he found a beautiful natural colorful rock nearly 200 meters high and changed it into new capital with lush gardens, ponds, palaces and pavilions. He also painted it with beautiful painting (frescoes) of semi-naked women. Even he hidden in Sigiriya rock, he always lived by guilt and fear. Later on, he committed to suicide. Yes, it’s a sad story in the end. But Sigiriya itself such a magnificent place. No wonder in 1982, UNESCO put Sigiriya in list of Heritage Site with Ref : 202. The frescoes itself is beautiful – I stand quite long time to see the painting. It’s unbelievable how the color still look so solid and beautiful. It used to be many – maybe hundreds of frescoes, but the weather and old ages destroyed it.
Once you finished with Frescoes, you will see a wall they called Mirror Wall. It looks like an ordinary orange wall now, but originally, the wall so well polished so King Kasyapa can see himself when walked alongside. It is believed that its mirror-like achieved by using a special plaster made of fine lime, egg whites, and honey. The surface of the wall was then buffed to a brilliant luster with beeswax. There are many graffiti craved in the wall by visitors – which is destroying the mirror-like sheen, so now, the government banned the vandalism of the wall and give a certain distance between visitors and the wall through a long string.
Lion Paws Gate and Hornets Attack
There was unexpected situation when finally we arrived at Lion Gate. Only few minutes after we took pictures, suddenly we need to run away to rooms that already prepared by the local by the crew, hiding from hornets! I saw the sign of how we should be careful with hornets while visiting Sigiriya, because noise can attract them attack us. ut tourist couldn’t be told to be quiet, right? – many of them talk to each other in loud voices. So there it is, they come and we were running away. And we should hid in that place until the crews able to make the hornets away. I was wondering how they make them go.
Me and Dinda, my friend, trapped in the hiding room. Waiting for the crews clear the area from bees.
First, they covered themselves with full body clothes. Then they try to attract bees to come to them. Later on, they brought themselves including the bees close to a big can which fired before and had a thick smoke. Once bees inhale the smoke, I guess they will die. Whooo.. such a big sacrifice for those people. They did that over and over again, until they make sure the area is clear and no bees anymore. They really concern of the hornets because one of visitor ever died after bite by the hornets, probably she/he had an allergic. The creepy bees wax already tried to be destroyed by chemical and fire, but still they come back again and build their house near the Lion’s Gate. Once it is done, we can go out from the hiding room and go down. I heard from a friend, that incident appeared in local TV, haha!
Our savior that time!
- You can visit Sigiriya for half day and go directly to Dambulla. Except you are a person who doesn’t like to be in a rush, you can enjoy Sigiriya for the whole day.
- There is a useful website if you want to learn more about Sigiriya, go to here : http://sigiriya.org/
- Be careful when carrying food, since so many monkeys around there.
- When looking the frescoes, better to step aside of the cave a bit until all people finished see it, because it’s not nice to look at those painting with overcrowding.
- Be careful if you use hat and skirt, since above there is so windy.