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Sigiriya - A Place in the Sky

sunny 32 °C

The task for today's blog is for us to scale the heights of Sigiriya in North Eastern Sri Lanka to visit the remains of a monastery and palace complex that is some 1,500 years old. From a distance the outcrop of quartz on which the palace sits rises from the jungle floor like a giant toadstool as it thrusts more than six hundred feet into the clear blue sky...
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The climb is arduous and expected to take as much as two hours in the hot afternoon sun, but our guide assured us that we could do it – however he didn't come with us! Two thousand steps forge a path to the top and begins with a steady climb up numerous flights of stone steps...
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There is a cave with ancient murals at the halfway point, but access is only gained by a nerve-racking ascent up a fifty foot high spiral staircase dangling over the edge of a three hundred foot precipice...
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No photos are allowed during the climb to the cave – possibly a good thing as we don't need reminders. However, no photos were permitted of the murals once we had reached the cave. So, we have no proof that we did it – you will have to take our word. The climb back down the spiral staircase was equally scary and we still had three hundred feet of sheer rockface to ascend to reach the summit. From this point the palace water gardens below us already seemed very far off and we were beginning to wish we had simply stayed there and sent up our guide with our camera...
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The foundations of many buildings, their purposes now obscured by time and by the destructive forces of later civilizations, were cut into ledges at various heights. This was undoubtedly an important structure in the 5th century AD...
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We paused, but still had a long climb ahead of us. Many of the steps are cut into the rock while others are steel staircases that cling perilously to the sheer cliffs...
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The metal ladders looked sturdy enough, and plenty of people had gone before, so we pushed on until we arrived at the summit, and the base of the great plinth on which the palace once stood...
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Just one more climb and we were on top of the world. The views across of the jungle were stunning...
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And at our feet was the foundation of a great palace built by King Kassapa (477-495 AD) that had once stood proudly atop this mountain. The king built his palace here to protect himself from his enemies after he murdered his own father.
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Having climbed to the top we can say with certainty that anyone thinking of attacking the place should think again. All we had to do now was to climb all the way back down.

Posted by Hawkson 07:56 Archived in Sri Lanka

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Comments

WOW !!!

by Bob D.

Looks like your days at the gym paid off. What a fabulous view.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Wow! Do they have cardiac stations nearby? 2000 steps and rarefied atmosphere--a real stress test.
Looks like a rock climber's paradise, however--hard, quartz rock? Must forward this to Andrew.

by R and B

Congratulations!!! I am thoroughly impressed. The view from the top is often worth the climb. My only climbing is up and over snowbanks today. And the view...well it is white on white. Hugs to you both.

by Trudy

So, the question is: how are you feeling today? and did Christine join you? My steps to the ocean add to 162 and I do this four times,to keep in shape, and it's enough for me, so yes, congrats!
they must get a fair amount of rain judging by the lushness..
keep on trekking.. love being part of it.
G

by Gottfried Mitteregger

What can I say??? You both are Amazing!!!

by Jean McLaren

..... what Bob said!

by Janet

OMG... wow. All those stairs haha. But the view. ... wow!
Great blog!
Cheers
Ann

by aussirose

Nice fresco brilliant view. In the life we must visit such beautiful fortress sigiriya Sri Lanka king kashyaba palace.

by Danushka Fernando

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