This title reminds of the TV show, Seventh Heaven. 🙂 It is indeed a euphoric feeling when you reach the peak of Sigiriya. I guess the 1200 grueling steps that you need to take in order to reach the top has added to that “victorious” sensation.
Just a little info, which I am sure you all can read from Wikipedia, Sigiriya’s direct translation to English is Lion’s rock. It is a World Heritage site in Sri Lanka (one among the eight) and has an interesting history behind it. It represented a major part of Sri Lanka’s ancient civilization. The video below tells more.
We were fortunate to have Sunil as our tour guide. He was very energetic during the travails and was very thoughtful of Anna’s comfort (I’m not saying anything derogatory remarks here Anna :)). Just by looking at the mountain from afar gave me big “sighs”. No it’s not because I am too lazy to stretch my calves and exercise my muscles, it’s just the thought of how this enormous edifice was built during that time is unbelievable.
The first thing that got my interest is the design of the waterways. Beside the mountain is a lake and from that lake, they build terracota pipes to provide water to the swimming pool, water fountains, water gardens, etc. Sanur says it better in this video:
With so many fascinating things in Sigiriya, I don’t know how I’m going to put them in this post. I guess I’ll just have to rely on the photos and a little bit of side comments.
The Brick Walls
I know there seems to be nothing so special about the brick walls, but I am really amazed that I am touching these rocks which have been there a hundred years back! It feels like being there physically.
The Fresco Paintings
The way to the fresco paintings inside the cave requires a couple of a hundred steps. We were really sweaty when we reached the cave. The subject of the paintings were mostly topless women. I learned that there used to be alot of these naked paintings but when the place became a monastery, the monks removed most of them.
An excerpt from the website Visit Sri Lanka Holidays:
The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 metres long and 40 metres high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out when the Palace once more became a Monastery so that they would not disturb meditation. Some more frescos different from the popular collection can be seen elsewhere on the rock surface, for example on the surface of the location called the “Cobra Hood Cave”.
The Mirror Wall
Thou shall not touch the mirror wall. 🙂 I still couldn’t imagine this wall as a mirror, but according to our tour guide it used to be very shiny. It was built by polishing it with egg whites to make it reflective. I was told that it is a place where the king and his women do their thing.
The Lion’s Paws
This was rebuilt by the British army after some parts deteriorated. What excites me most here is when we had to wear the anti-hornet-sting suit that allows you to float from the ground defying gravity. Although you’ll be drenched with sweat after wearing the protective suit, I felt like an astronaut though. 🙂 There’s a lot of hornet hives there and sometimes when they’re having their moment (yeah mood swings aren’t only for us) they attack the people who are peacefully climbing their way up to the peak of Sigiriya. As the saying goes, “once bitten, twice shy” but in their case, once you’re bitten, you’ll be thrice shy in the hospital bed–there goes your fantastic holiday! 🙂
Yes after all the hardships, the sacrifices, the ups and the downs, the lefts and the rights, the moving forward and falling back, the thirsts and the sweats… finally… finally… we found out that there’s no restaurant nor beverage store on top. If you’ve gulped your bottle of water before reaching the peak or if you were too lazy to bring one, you’ll definitely be standing there in awe, fascination, and amazement.
The 360-degree view, the gush of wind that can topple you anytime, the fresh breeze that just embraces your sweaty body and dampens your dry lips are more than enough to pay for the 1200 steps one had to endure. It’s indeed a 1200-step to heaven.
And so I’m ending this post with a video below. Most of the shots had a noisy and windy sound so I had to mute it and replace it with Boyce Avenue’s version of We Are Young. I was having LSS (Last Song Syndrome) on this song so even if this doesn’t really fit the video, I used it. Enjoy the 360-matrix-shot I had to add at the end so that you guys can see the peak…and yeah so that you can have fun at my own expense (this line sounds very familiar from someone). :))