Sigiriya can quite possibly be a one-stop destination for all you avid history buffs out there. Forming a part of the Cultural Triangle, it offers equal proportions of beauty, wonder, rich heritage, and some truly astounding views!
This natural rock column which is actually a volcanic plug professes a long and fascinating history dating back to the 3rd century BC. When its various caverns were the home of monks and ascetics. Later on, in 477 AD, it was the well-protected royal abode of King Kashyapa and became known as the Lion Rock Fortress.
The climb itself will take around 60 to 90 minutes depending on your fitness level, but overall, it’s relatively bearable and one’s huffing and puffing will be duly rewarded. Do try to avoid the hordes of tourists who storm the place during mid-day and complete the tour either early in the morning or late afternoon; as the weather tends to get considerably cooler.
If you do happen to go during noon, remember to slap on plenty of sunblock, wear a hat and stay hydrated as the heat can be fierce. During your ascent, things to see include the famous frescos of the cloud maidens, which have become an iconic symbol associated with the country, the mirror wall, and the tranquil water gardens.
The most well-preserved architectural fixture of the rock is perhaps, the gigantic lion paws which mark the entrance to the summit, which is coincidentally a good place to rest. After a quick breather, climb the last bit of the seemingly never-ending stairs to the very top, to feel like the king of the world with rolling vistas all around you, at least until the next tourist comes along!