One of Sri Lanka’s most famous highlights, both literally and figuratively, is Sigiriya Hill, also known as the Lion Rock. From another flat landscape, a majestic stone grows. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Uluru in Australia in terms of shape, although the Lion Rock is much smaller and less extended. I didn’t want to miss a visit to the Sigiriya Rock during my trip across Sri Lanka and then I can tell that this belongs to Sri Lanka’s list of highlights.
King Kasyapa, Sri Lanka’s then king, announced in the 4th century AD that he wanted a palace on top of Sigiriya Hill. Halfway down the rock was a lion-shaped path, hence the Lion Rock nickname. It protected on top of the rock the path to the top and the royal grounds. Therefore, besides a beautiful castle, there was a swimming pool, a garden with fountains and a so-called mirror wall. The mirror wall was such a polished wall that the king could see in it his reflection. The stone fell into disrepair after the king’s death. Thankfully, at the end of the last century, it was decided to restore all that remained
Sigiriya Rock entrance
In March, we visited the rock just at the start of Sri Lanka’s high season. We arrived at the entrance at half-past eight in the morning and then the cash registers already had a long wait. The weather was still great at that time, but we felt like it would again be a warm day. We got access to the Sigiriya gardens for a Western entrance fee (€ 25,-pp). We walked along a long path, along with quite a few other visitors, in a straight line to the stone. It was surprising that the rock was visited by many locals as well. For almost all of Sri Lanka’s sights, this turned out to be the case: on average, half of the visitors were Sri Lankan and the other half were tourists.
Beginning with the door immediately: the climb was more difficult than expected. The stairs climbed steeply, so in my calves, acidification quickly occurred. Therefore, we couldn’t really walk through well because of the stairs there was often a crowd. The fact that there was only one narrow staircase caused these. It meant that people who had already ended their trip had to fight down the procession that was still going up. It’s not really really realistic, you might imagine. All in all, in about 1.5 hours we were upstairs and our efforts were more than rewarded with a beautiful view and a beautiful, green plateau where once stood the palace.
It’s not really busy around this time (about 10 a.m.) and you have plenty of chances to wander around and take pictures. Note: there’s a lot of people at the top who say they’re working for the government and want to give you a free answer. They give you all the way around the rock in a rather aggressive way and then they want to be paid in euros. We cut off the’ tour’ quickly and the fun was over when we wanted to give him some rupees and the’ guide’ fell off quickly.