On our way from Anuradhapura to Colombo, we made a detour to Sigiriya to visit yet another UNESCO world heritage site, Sigiriya.
Sigiriya, meaning “Lion’s throat”, in Sinhalese, is an ancient rock fortress where King Kashyapa built his palace. He had moved the capital from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya, as it was more secure. After his death, the capital moved back and the fortress became a Buddhist monastery.
The drive from Ulagalla is only 60 kilometers, but the road conditions make it a 1.5-2 hour drive. While bumpy, it is a nice to drive to spot wildlife – birds, elephants and peacocks are known to roam around (and of course, monkeys!)
Upon arrival, you’ll realize it is one of the more popular tourist destinations as there was a long queue to get in. The round ticket gets you in, where the locals can be a ticket for 50 rupees and also jump the queue.
A first, I wondered why a hike would require a queue, but it became abundantly clear once we passed through the surrounding gardens.
There are narrow, steep stairs to reach midpoint in the rock for stress, where the ancient frescos are still intact.
Following the viewing of the frescos, the masses of people thin out as you climb the next set of staid to the top. The top is definitely worth the trip up – amazing views and there are still some remnants of the fortress.