Sri Lanka 2013 Part 1 – Sigiriya

April 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm

The posts and summary for the whole trip, can be found here.

Day 1 and 2 journeyThis was what we covered on this post. (Credit : Map taken from google map)

♥22nd March 2013♥

Our flight was a late night flight, we arrived passed midnight and took a taxi to Summerside Residence at Negombo, recommended and booked by Asanka, our guide/driver; the hotel is about 20mins away from the airport.

It was straight to bed upon arrival.

♥23rd March 2013♥

We have an early start, after a very generous portion of breakfast at Summerside Residence, Asanka came to pick us up to start our journey to Sigiriya.

Although I’d already seen his photos on Facebook, and could imagine how he was; I’m glad that Asanka, whom I’d exchanged probably 30 emails with to plan our trip, turned out to be a pleasant young chap.

On Google map Negombo to Sigiriya is 2.5 hours away. In Sri Lanka, as the roads mainly are trunk roads, and cars usually drive at about ~45km/hour, we were told to factor in another 40% travel time. Hence, the journey with all the lunch/tea, toilet, photo-taking stops, was about 5hours for us.

Our first stop was at a road side stall, as Asanka was eager to let us try King Coconuts, which are only found in Sri Lanka.

King CoconutKing Coconut

The stall besides selling king coconuts, offer corn boiled in a blackened cauldron over wood fire.
Cauldron

And the owner made Roti as well, cooked over a make shift stove.

Lady heating up Roti

Who needs Le Creusset when you have this?Roti being heated up on pan

I thought Thai coconuts taste better, more ‘fragrant’. However, the lady’s roti and her coconut sambal was really good! Her sambal is the best of all those I’d tasted later in the hotels/restaurants.
Roti and sambal

We arrived at Sigiriya at 2:30pm. Went to look at the Citadel of Sigiriya or the Lion Rock from afar, just so we know what to expect, and then checked into our hotel, Fresco Water Villa, for a short rest.

Vegetable shops like these are common in Sri Lanka.Vegetable Stall

Traditional Sri Lankan masks sold in a little shop around Sigiriya.Vegetable Stall

The Citadel of Sigiriya or the Lion Rock can seen from afarVegetable Stall

Tuk Tuks waiting for customers. You can see The Sigiriya Citadel far away on the right.Tuk Tuk at Sigiriya

After a short rest in the hotel (we did, the girls just jumped around on the beds, o.O”), we headed to Sigiriya, which is best visited in the evening.

About Sigiriya (taken from the entrance ticket) :
Sigiriya is a unique landscape city, created in the 5th century by King Kashyapa embracing a 200 meter rock out crop and its surrounding with nature driven architecture composed of builidings, pathways, terraces, ponds, fountains, paintings and sclupture. The are more than 1000 hand written poems on the mirror wall written by visitors to Sigiriya from 7th-14th century. The UNESCO declared this a World Heritage site in 1982.

The entrance fee is USD30/head, children are half price. Asanka told us there are ~1200 steps to climb to get to the top, I was hoping the girls will not give up half way.

After paying our entrance fee and we were about to enter the gardens, it started pouring! We had to stand and wait at the sheltered entrance for the rain to stop.

There were lots of school children going for field trips there. They got drenched but didn’t seem to be bothered by it.
Vegetable Stall

God was at our side, it poured for 30mins, and the stopped. The rain cool the place down, so making our walk in the gardens as well as the climbing more pleasant.

We met with many group of students. The shy ones would smile, and the brave ones would ask us, “Where are you from?” Most of them were very willing to have their photos taken, although some would shy away.

Vegetable Stall

School girls at Sigiriya

The gardens was huge, we didn’t have time to explore because the ground was soggy and wet after the rain, and it was getting a little late, we had to rush ourselves to the Lion Rock to start our climb (Remember? We have to climb 1200 steps!) to complete everything before dusk.

Some of the steps were carved out from rock, some were added later for visitors. But there were lots (and I mean LOTS) of stairs to climb! We had to do it very carefully because they were wet and slippery, not to mention we have to navigate pass throngs of people.

The spiral stairs leading up to the FrescoSchool girls at Sigiriya

We arrived at the famous Sigiriya rock painting, or Frescoes. The painting of the ‘Apsaras’ (Sanskrit : Celestial Maidens) were done in the 5th Century, some still beautifully preserved.
Sigiriya Fresco

Sigiriya Fresco

Sigiriya Fresco

Some have been vandalized.
Sigiriya Fresco

Then we went passed the Mirror Wall. Made from a kind of porcelain, it was so well polished that the King could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Visitors to the rock during 7th-14th century wrote on the wall, but I couldn’t really identify the writings (they look like scratches on the wall to me).

Sigiriya Mirror Wall

School girls at Sigiriya

After climbing more steps, and some seemingly dangerous path (one side is the rock wall, the other side a railing separating you from the ground ~100m below), we reached the Lion’s Mouth, only the paws and the some steps are left now.

School girls at Sigiriya

Monk Taking Photos

And more steps to climb to reach the top of the rock, where the King’s palace was supposed to be.
School girls at Sigiriya

Half way up, Zaria started getting edgy because she was getting afraid and wanted to turn back. She was in tears but pushed on because I told her no one was going to go back down with her.

And we made it to the top, the whole family! Zaria too felt exhilarated with her achievement.
Top of Sigiriya

Since it was getting dark, we have to start descending, climbing the whole 1200 steps again downwards.

The Sigiriya Citadel at sunset.Sigiriya In The Evening

Was it worth the climb? The ticket price? Definitely. It’s a must go when in Sri Lanka!

After this, we were very tired, had dinner at the hotel, and went to bed early.

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