Asia,

Sigiriya : Ravan's Fort in Sri Lanka

11:26 AM Sneh Asnani 7 Comments

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Lion Paws @ Sigriya !! Pff.. tired after the climb
Sigriya is one of the most famous Historical destination in Sri Lanka and must never be missed. Especially for Indians, who believe the Ramayan was a true story - this fort is believed to be a fort of Ravana. This is on a mountain and has deteriorated over centuries but you can see traces of historical architecture, the seat of the king and gives you a perspective of no matter how times change.. legends remain..
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Lion Paws !! Look like straight from a set of Game of Thrones
This is a massive column of Rock nearly 200 meters/ 600 ft high. This site was chosen by the King Kashyap (the last king of the Sri Lankan Dynasty) - it is called as Sigriya (which means Lion Rock in Sinhalese) as there is a Seat of a Lion up the hill from where you can see a birds eye view of the entire city. 
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which you must include in your itinerary.
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Sigiriya Lion Rock from the bottom
Legendary Past : Source (Wikipedia)
According to the Palm Leaf Book (Puskola Potha) - the architect of the Sigiriya was Mayasura.  He built up Sigiriya on the instructions given by King Visthavasa, the father of Ravana. During that period the Sigiriya was called Alakamandava (City of Gods). After the death of Ravana, Vibeeshana became the king and he shifted the kingdom to Kelaniya. 
Prince Kassapa who was the son of King Daathusena has selected Sigriya as his residence. King Kassapa was the only king who did reconstruction and maintained the Chiththakuta as done by the king Ravana. 
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How to Go:
We were staying in Kandy - and took a Day Trip to Sigriya in our Cab. We had booked cab for the entire 5 days journey in Sri Lanka which made our trip memorable and allowed us to travel to so many destinations without hassle.
Kandy -> Sigriya  = 100Kms (2.5 hours)
We left after breakfast from our Hotel in Kandy at around 10ish and reached Sigriya at 12.30 or 01PM. 
There are various entrances to this Rock Fortress, ask your driver to take you to the foreigner entrance as you will need to buy tickets from there.
The car park is at the bottom and there is a long walk inside to start climbing this huge rock.

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Fountain Garden
Tickets : By far one of the most expensive place we have been to.
Foreign Tourist : 4600 LKR
SAARC Nationals : 2300 LKR
Locals : 60LKR

Since there are multiple entrances, it is possible that you might start climbing to this fort from behind and skip the tickets. However, there is another ticket checking counter mid-way and he will ask for tickets. SAARC nationals have to show their passports to avail the lower ticket price. 

As soon as you will enter, lots of auto-rickshaw people and guides will contact you. They will say that you don't need to climb, they can take a round of this rock from Auto-Rickshaw around the photo-spots and ask for 1000LKR (you dont need a ticket to go around).
But the beauty of this place is only in Climbing up.
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Mirror Wall
Experience :
There are about 1200 steps to the top - and weather in Sri Lanka is hot/tropical. It is preferred to reach Sigiriya early morning.. but we reached there at around 1 which is peak noon hour. We have a little kid (3 years old), so we were really worried if we will be able to make the climb and if our child will be alright in the sun.
I think we took the risk and decided to buy tickets to go to the top. 
Yes, it was hot. Buy water bottles and have some food at the entrance. There are no shops, no hawkers on the way, so you will not get any water/food etc. until you finish your climb and are back.
As you start.. the grounds will have historical gardens, Baths, temples and caves on the way. The ruins are very interesting to watch.. We Indians are so connected to Ramayan, that we will imagine Ravan living in that fort at every corner. The ruins make you wonder how many many centuries back also our civilization was so strong and architectures were amazing.
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We started out climb at noon hour, so we were really not sure if we will be able to make it in the hot sun.. but we made it to the half-way up until the mirror wall and the post that to the Lion Throne, which seemed to be a huge achievement.

As you pass through, there are various caves (Cobra cave etc.) but we focused on the climb and while returning we were so tired that did not pay attention to these. For children, you need to be careful, hold their hands at all times.. but up until the Lion Throne it is not scary. The stairs are big and between the rocks, so it was safe. 

There are monkeys on the way, so be careful when you carry any food items. After about half-way, there is a mirror-wall. It is said that long long back, this wall was so shiny that the king used to watch his face in this mirror wall. Now it has deteriorated and people have scribbled on this wall.
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View from the top!!
This wall marks half-way of the Sigriya fort. The views are mesmerizing once you reach at the top.
After the wall, you climb more stairs to reach the Lion Paws. It is said that the entire Rock fort was in the shape of a Lion.. but after many many centuries, due to weather, winds, rains, it has worn out and only the Paws of this lion have remained.
These are huge paws and the King used to sit here on the throne. 

After this, there is the next level of climb, for the sky gardens. I heard that these are the most beautiful gardens with layers that you have ever seen. However, the stairs are very risky and avoid going any further if you are with kids.
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Climb Upwards from the Lion Paws
We clicked lots of pictures and then came back.
The way to return is directly to the parking lot, is it a bit long winding with many small shops trying to sell to tourists on the ground. Ask your driver to pick you up from that parking lot.

It took us total 2 hours onward and back... very tiring.. but definitely a must-visit place.
Other articles for Sri Lanka :
Sri Lanka Itinerary
Bentota Trip
Kandy Trip
Pinnavala elephant orphanage
P.S : All pictures are original and taken from my iPhone 6 and Nikkon DSLR camera !!

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