Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pilgrimage place in Sri Lanka - Sigiriya

Sigiriya or Lion Rock in Sri Lanka

The next place we visited after Dambulla Cave and Golden Buddha Temple was Sigiriya - also well known as the Lion Rock. It was located about 20 km away from the Golden Buddha Temple. We took tuk tuk there that cost us LKR 1,200 per trip.

Sigiriya entrance ticket

We purchased our ticket at the building where the museum was located. The ticket cost very expensive. For foreigner I had to pay LKR 4,650 (USD$30/pax) while for tourist from SAARC countries paid half of it (LKR 2,325). The ticket included the entrance to the museum, which located at second storey.

The start of our journey to Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

The weather was hot before we reached Sigiriya. However, just after buying the ticket, heavy rain poured down from the sky. We took a rest then decided to visit the museum. Just nice, after finished browsing the museum, the rain stopped. Buddha bless us!!! :) We were blessed with such a pleasant weather to climb the rock up!!!

Gateway to the palace in form of Lion's Rock at Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sample of the frescoes painting in Sigiriya (Source: Post card photographed by Juergen Schreiber)

"According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock (nearly 200 meters high) and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock.

In 477 CE, Kashyapa, the king’s son by a non-royal consort, seized the throne from King Dhatusena, following a coup assisted by Migara, the King’s nephew and army commander. The rightful heir, Moggallana, fearing for his life, fled to South India. Afraid of an attack by Moggallana, Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya. During King Kashyapa’s reign (477 to 495 CE), Sigiriya was developed into a complex city and fortress. Most of the elaborate constructions on the rock summit and around it, including defensive structures, palaces, and gardens, date from this period.

Kashyapa was defeated in 495 CE by Moggallana, who moved the capital again to Anuradhapura. Sigiriya was then turned back into a Buddhist monastery, which lasted until the 13th or 14th century.
The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death." - Source:

How the metal staircase was secured into the rock - Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

The metal staircases installed there looked scary. Not only this one (the photo above), but also the one in spiral shape (the picture below).

Spiral metal staircase to Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Sometimes I was wondering how in olden days they climbed the rock up safely without such metal staircases installation around. Especially when they built the capital up there with palace and monastery. What remained now was just ruins just like what you see below.

The view from the top of Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Ruins of Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Panoramic view from top of Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Water garden on top of Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Audience Hall on top of Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

The throne seat in Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

View of Garden of Sigiriya from the top - Sri Lanka

After browsing around the area we went down.

View of Pidurangala and the Lion's Paw (gate of Sigiriya) - Sri Lanka

We spent less than 1.5 hours to climb up, browse the area around and go back down. It was said there were around 1,200 steps to reach to the top. Bring water at the Cafetaria near the museum before going up as there was not any shop after that. The rain earlier was really giving us advantage as the air was cooling after that. We felt we were really blessed during our journey.

Close-up view of the Lion's paw at Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

By the time we walked down there was only less people around. It was good for us to take photo (when we climbed up there were many Chinese tourists around). And I saw a local family wearing white top and white bottom (what they usually wore when visiting temple). I asked them if I could take photo with them and they were so friendly, agreed it almost immediately :) So here we were!!!

Selfie :D Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Visit to Sigiriya on 12th April 2018 - Sri Lanka

My last photo alone there in Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Our last selfie there together - Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

With that, it closed our 2 days 1 night pilgrimage journey to Anuradhapura (Mihintale and 6 pilgrimage sites), Dambulla, and Sigiriya. From Sigiriya we took tuk tuk to Habarana Junction railway station but when we reached, the railway station location was quite deserted. There was no restaurant nearby. So we asked the driver to bring us to the nearest town where we could have our dinner. Luckily we did not wait there as wild elephants might come in that area and could attack human easily - from what we heard.

Dinner, dessert and beer celebration! Succession of our pilgrimage trip :D - Sri Lanka

We found a nice restaurant (Hot Dish Restaurant) where we had our dinner and took a rest (after such a long day!!!) We both were very tired and hungry too! We cleared our plates without any trace left then went to Cargills Food City Express (supermarket in Sri Lanka that mostly sold food and beverage) to get ice cream - to sweeten my day that had already been so sweet :D, then looked for alcohol shop to taste the local Sri Lanka beer - Lion Beer - strong one with 8.8% alcohol (just to chill out and celebrate the succession of our first trip in Sri Lanka!).

Took train back from Habarana to Ragama Junction - Sri Lanka

We headed back to Habarana railway station an hour before our train's departure time by tuk tuk. We waited there chit chatting until the train finally came at 9.55 pm. We managed getting seat and after continued our chit chat, we finally had a sleep and reached Ragama Junction railway station at 4 am. We took tuk tuk back home, unpacked, took a bath, and finally slept. Thank SB for protecting us all throughout our first journey outside of Colombo. And thank you Sonam for becoming my guide throughout this journey. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! :)

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